LEE PELTIER believes Stockport County’s parlous state makes them dangerous opponents at Edgeley Park tomorrow.
Town are chasing the win which could cement a League I play-off berth (if Colchester United fail to beat Tranmere Rovers).
And with the hosts rock-bottom and already relegated, the table suggests Lee Clark’s sixth-placed side have a great chance.
Stockport’s problems go deeper than simply dropping into League II, because they have been in administration since last April.
And Football League rules say that clubs cannot start consecutive seasons in that state, so supporters are desperate a planned takeover goes through.
Administrator Leonard Curtis has agreed a deal with a consortium fronted by former club chief executive Sean Connolly, but it still has to be ratified by the League.
And only this week Connolly warned: “We are making progress but we are by no means at the finish line.”
Stockport have only five players contracted beyond the end of this campaign – Michael Rose, Peter Thompson, Craig Roberts, Danny Rowe and keeper Owain fon Williams.
Left-back Rose is out on loan at Norwich City and not expected to return, and it looks certain that a string of players will follow top men Carl Baker, Michael Raynes and Oli Johnson, who all exited Edgeley during the January transfer window.
Young defender Sam Barnes has already been linked with Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers, and that has alerted Town defender Peltier, who came through the Liverpool ranks under Stockport manager Gary Ablett.
“There’s a double danger,” explained Peltier, who returned from an ankle injury to switch from right to left-back for the 1-0 win over Millwall.
“Because Stockport are already down, their lads are free from the pressure of scrapping for points for survival.
“And given the financial situation at the club, they are also playing for their futures, whether that is at Stockport or elsewhere.”
Throw in the poor state of the Edgeley Park pitch, which is also used by rugby union club Sale Sharks, who now own the ground, and Peltier is ready for a real battle.
He believes it’s a case of concentrating on the basics, just like he did when asked to switch flanks against Millwall because regular left-back Dean Heffernan was ruled out injured.
“I’m far more used to playing right-back, but I have been out on the left on the odd occasion,” explained the summer signing from Yeovil Town.
“You’re doing the same things that you do on the right, just the other way around, and I just tried to make sure I stuck to the solid principles of the role.”
Having missed the previous two games because of his injury, the 23-year-old got the green light to face the Lions the day before the game.
“I’d been making good progress, and I had a mini fitness test during a training session on the pitch,” he said.
“Having had a light jog, the gaffer asked me to try crossing the ball a few times, and it felt okay.”
Peltier lasted 83 minutes before being replaced by Robbie Williams, and added: “It was more general muscle tightness, not the ankle, which was bothering me.”
The Peter Clarke-sealed win over Millwall was Town’s fourth in five games and Peltier, who was making his 45th Town appearance, continued: “We showed real character.
“We were to start at a high tempo, which I thought we did, and we played some good stuff in the first half, when we deservedly went ahead.
“You felt the goal was coming, but we also knew a side with the quality of Millwall would have a spell on top, and that happened in the second half.
“We had to defend with determination, and it was good to keep a clean sheet, which is something we’ll be aiming for again at Stockport.”
County, whose relegation was confirmed by the 3-1 home defeat by Peltier’s old club Yeovil on April 10, haven’t won in 11 games, and have lost nine of those.
They also suffered a 2-0 Manchester Senior Cup defeat at home to Bolton on Monday, when boss Ablett, the former Liverpool and Everton player, ran the rule over a number of trialists.
Midfielders Danny Pilkington, the younger brother of Town star and former Stockport man Anthony, and Adam Griffin both completed 90 minutes on their return from injury.
There were also run-outs for defender Luca Havern and midfielder Matty Mainwaring, who has since been sidelined once again by a wrist injury suffered during training.
Ablett hopes on-loan MK Dons defender Danny Swailes will return after missing last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient because of personal reasons.
But he still has a doubt over skipper and defender Johnny Mullins, who is struggling with a back problem.
Northamptonshire referee Andy Woolmer will be in charge tomorrow.
His last Town match was last season’s 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient.
This time, he’s been in charge of 29 games, issuing three red cards.
His assistants are Robert Atkin (Lincolnshire) and Peter Bankes (Merseyside) with Bob Roberts, of Lancashire, the fourth official.