Airbus UK v Stockport County The Preview
The Hollingsworth Group Stadium (previously known as The Airfield) is a new venue for County's first team, although our youth side met their Airbus counterparts there in the 2010 pre-season. The only first team meeting came in July last year. That game saw a small crowd watch Airbus claim a 2-1 victory with a couple of goals from Ryan Wade, whilst current Colwyn Bay player Chris Sharp got County's consolation.
Stockport County (0) 1 Sharp 
Airbus UK Broughton (1) 2 Wade 2 [26 57]
County: Danny Hurst, Mark Lees, Scott Duxbury, Jamie Milligan, Dan Gregson, Glenn Belezika (Jordan Fagbola), Chris Sharp, Tunji Moses (Bobby Lofthouse), Scott Spencer (Jordan Lazenbury), Kristian Dennis, Nathan Woolfe (Chris Churchman)
Airbus: James Coates, Lee Owens, Matty McGinn, Jon Spittle, Ian Kearney (Myles Hart), Glenn Rule, Jordan Barrow (Jay Owen), Ash Williams (Mike Roddy), Andy Jones, Ryan Wignall (Ellis Healing), Ryan Wade (Liam Tarran)
All things Stockport County had its usual comprehensive match report on the game
Airbus started out as the works team for the local aircraft factory and had various names as the factory changed owners - Vickers-Armstrong, de Havilland, Hawker Siddeley, British Aerospace, and BAE Systems - almost a mini-history of the British post-WWII aircraft industry. The ground, which was converted to a 3G pitch in recent years, apparently features retracting floodlights, due to its location next to an operational runway. The team have been in the Welsh Premier league since 2004.
Read our pre-season travel guide if you are heading to the game just over the Welsh border
County's second pre-season opponents have been back in training a lot longer than the other sides we will meet. This was needed as part of their preparations for European competition. They played their first friendly on 6th June, and the competitive games began at the start of this month, with thieir home and away tie in the Europa League 1st qualifying round Their opposition was Croatian side NK Lokomotiva, and in the home leg the visitors beat Airbus 3-1 at Bangor City's ground. In the return leg in Zagreb Airbus, or Broughton as they are known when playing in Europe due to the ban on company names, did better recording a 2-2 draw. Chris Budrys gave them the lead early in the second half, whilst a goal from captain Andy Jones, with 15 minutes left, equalised after the home side had turned the tables.
With the second leg being on Thursday night Airbus have no weekend game ahead of taking on Neil Young's County side fresh from our match with Clitheroe. It's going to be a hard game for the County players, not only against players competition ready, but on a surface they would normally only train on.
The Airbus players involved in their European games are listed below.
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|Name||Pos||Known Past Clubs (may not be complete)|
|James Coates||G||Worcester C, Bromsgrove Rov(L), Hucknall T, Kidsgrove Ath(L), Abbey Hey, Mansfield T, Boston U(L), Burton A, Vauxhall Motors, TNS, Northwich Vic, Rhyl(L), Vauxhall Motors, Altrincham, Leigh Genesis, Guiseley, Bradford PA, New Mills, Altrincham, New Mills, Radcliffe Bor, Airbus UK Broughton(L)|
|Lee Owens||D||Vauxhall Motors, Wigan Ath|
|Johnny Spittle||D||Wigan Ath, Blackburn Rov. Rochdale. Llandudno|
|Mike Pearson||D/M||Oldham Ath, Farsley Cel(L), Barrow|
|Matty McGinn||LB||Runcorn, Southport, Chester, AFC Telford U|
|Andy Jones||CD/F||Shrewsbury T, AFC Telford U, Malvern T, Bromsgrove Rov, Hednesford T, Stourport Swifts, Redditch U, Evesham U, Newtown|
|Jordan Barrow||M||Everton, Stalybridge Cel, Caernarfon T|
|Tom Field||M||Everton, Leigh RMI, TNS, Vauxhall Motors, Chester, Northwich Vic|
|Ellis Healing||M||Crewe Alex, Tranmere Rov, BK Sport [swe], Hyde, Cammell Laird (L), Conwy Bor|
|Jay Owen||M||Chester C, Barrow|
|Wayne Riley||M/F||Northwich Vic, Hednesford T, Chester|
|Ryan Wignall||W||Liverpool, Vauxhall Motors, Woodley Sports, Prescot Cables, AFC Liverpool, Cammell Laird, RRFC Montegnee [bel], Wimborne T, RRFC Montegnee [bel], WBurscough, Conwy Bor|
|Ryan Wade||W||Skelmersdale U, Vauxhall Motors, Burscough, Runcorn T, Prescot Cables, Northwich Vic|
|Ricky Evans||F/M||Oldham Ath, Welshpool T, TNS, Flint Town U, Bangor C, Aberystwyth T, Caersws, Rhyl, Queens Park, Cefn Druids, Bala T, Gap Connahs Quay Nom|
|Chris Budrys||F||Queen ot Sth, Alsager T, Newcastle T, Stafford R, Northwich Vic|
|Tony Gray||F||Newton, Bangor C, Burscough, Southport, Droylsden, Chester, AFC Telford U|
Of the men not involved against County last season, three other men in this list have faced the Hatters before. Mike Pearson (with Barrow in 09-10 & 11-12), Wayne Riley (Hednesford T 13-14) and Tony Gray (most recently with Telford in 12-13).
Airbus are another club from whom County signed a player during the close season, in this case probably the first player the club have paid a fee for in some time. Glenn Rule, had been with Airbus for four seasons and was near the top of their Welsh Premier League all time appearance list. Having started out with Chester City, the 25-year-old has also played for Colwyn Bay and Stalybridge Celtic.
Other playing connections are limited. Marc Lloyd-Williams (left) top scored for them in 2009-10, whilst Richie Partridge had a couple of seasons as player physio before concentrating on his job at Liverpool's Academy. These are the only first team County men who are known to have gone on to play at Airbus according to my records.