Stockport visit on Good Friday

Stockport have been formidable opposition this season.  One of the league’s meanest defences and one of its most high scoring attacks have put Stockport 2nd in the league, in a tight race at the top.

At one point, between September and November last year, the team recorded 12 consecutive wins, and it seemed unlikely that anyone was going to be able to catch them.  This sequence included a 2-0 victory over Rovers last October (with 1st half goals from Isaac Oloafe & Antoni Sarcevic).  Standout performances have included a 5-0 home win against Wrexham in September and an 8-0 home demolition of Sutton in December.

However, a relative dip in form saw them go 7 games with only one win.  That was before an impressive 5-0 home victory against promotion rivals MK Dons in their last outing.

Expect an atmosphere for this clash.  Stockport are well supported (gates average about 9,000 at Edgeley Park) so we can probably expect a big crowd.  This will be only the second EFL game between the sides and the first EFL game at The New Lawn (the clubs have had 4 meetings at National League level).

How are they doing?

Stockport’s latest results represent a small dip in their overall season form (most recent results first);

Stockport 5-0 MK Dons, Crawley 1-1 Stockport, Salford 2-2 Stockport, Stockport 1-0 Newport, Stockport 0-0 Swindon, Gillingham 0-0 Stockport, Tranmere 4-0 Stockport, Stockport 1-3 Crewe.

Stockport are currently 2nd in the league but it is very tight at hte top, with 5 teams well in contention for the 3 automatic promotion places.  FGR play all of the top 5 sides in their run-in.  Stockport are first, MK Dons, Mansfield, Crewe & Wrexham will follow.

Edgeley Park has been something of a fortess for Stockport this season.  But they have also been one of the league’s best performing sides away from home, averaging almost 2 points a game.

Stockport’s favourite time to score is in the opening 15 minutes of a game.  They are also least likely to concede a goal in these first 15 minutes.

Edgeley Park

Stockport’s Edgeley Park can accommodate almost 11,000 people.

Who to watch?

One of Stockport’s standout players this season is an Aston Villa loanee, Louie Barry.  Villa bought Barry from Barcelona in 2020 for £880,000.  He’s still only 20 but has had several loan spells as he tries to establish himself at the top level.  Jurgen Klopp once described him as a little Jamie Vardy.  He is a pacey left-sided attacking winger – his manager says “Louie is a dribbler, an exciting, pacey forward who has the ability to beat players and will certainly get people off their seats”.  With 9 goals this season, he is Stockport’s 3rd leading scorer.

Stockport’s leading scorer is striker Isaac Oloafe.  Oloafe was signed from Millwall at the start of 2023.  The 23 year-old was part of Millwalll’s academy and had spent 2 seasons on loan at Sutton.  He scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 demolition of Wrexham at Edgeley Park and has 19 goals so far this season.

Louie Barry - Stockport County

Stockport’s left sided attacker, Louie Barry, on loan from Aston Villa.

Isaac Olaofe - Stockport County

Striker Isaac Oloafe, signed from Millwall last summer, scored a hat-trick against Wrexham, and is Stockport’s leading marksman with 18 goals for the season.

34 year old Irish striker Patrick Madden has 10 goals for the season and is in good form.

Antoni Sarcevic pulls the strings in Stockport’s midfield.  In his 3 years at Plymouth Argyle, Plymouth fans dubbed him the ‘Manchester Messi’!

A Rovers connection

Stockport winger, Odin Bailey, played for Rovers, on loan from Birmingham, in the 2019/20 season.

In his 3rd FGR appearance Bailey scored a goal against Grimsby that Mark Cooper described as the best goal he’d seen at FGR.  Shortly after this, an ankle ligament injury ended his loan spell.  He returned to Rovers on loan the following season before securing contracts at Salford and now Stockport.

The Manager

Stockport manager, Dave Challinor, is a former Stockport and Tranmere centre back.

Challinor has been in management since 2010.  After cutting his management teeth at Colwyn Bay, he spent 8 years at AFC Fylde before spending 2 years in charge at Hartlepool.  He was appointed as Stockport manager in November 2021 and signed a new 3-year deal with them last year.  He was named League 2 manager of the month in both September and October last year as he guided the team to a club record of 12 consecutive wins.

What are they thinking?

Check out some of the latest thoughts of Hatters fans on one of their forums or Stockport County forum

The Club

They are known as The Hatters (a nickname they share with Luton).

Formed in 1883, the club have spent most of their time in the 4th tier since WW2.  They peaked between 1997 and 2003 when they spent 6 seasons in the 2nd tier.  However, by 2013 they had suffered 5 relegations (with 1 promotion in that time) and found themselves in the 6th tier (one below the National League).  In 2019 they moved up to the National League and in 2022 were promoted to League 2.  In the 2022/23 season they finished 4th but lost on penalties to Carlisle in the play-off final for promotion to League 1.

They were bought in 2020 (for an undisclosed fee) by Stockport born and bred businessman Mark Stott.  Stott cleared the club’s debts, and pledged to return the club to full-time football and to the EFL.

They have been managed since 2021 by Dave Challinor.

Mark Stott, seen as Stockport’s most successful current entrepreneur, has rejuvenated their fortunes.

The Town

The town became a centre for the hatting industry in the 19th century.  Water powered mills were fed through a series of underground tunnels from local rivers.  But the last factory closed in 1997 and the country’s only dedicated hat museum is the only reminder left.

The town is only 6 or 7 miles south-east of Manchester but has always maintained a distinct identity.  An application for ‘city’ status in 2012 was unsuccessful.

Stockport is a major link on the West Coast mainline up to Manchester Piccadilly and the grade 2 listed Victorian viaduct that carries the rail lines over the start of the River Mersey, dominates the views in the town.

Stockport’s most famous son is probably Fred Perry.  Perry is now better known as a clothing brand, but the man is considered one of the best to have ever played tennis.  He won 8 tennis ‘major’ singles tournament titles in the 1930’s.  We had to wait until Andy Murray for the next men’s Wimbledon champion!  You’ll find numerous memorials to Fred around Stockport – the house where he was born is at 33 Carrington Rd in Stockport.

The Sweatband: Fred Perry's Wild-Card | Fred Perry UK

Fred Perry in his heyday.


Hatters working in the early 20th century.


Stockport’s Hatworks is the only museum in the country dedicated to hatting!