Here we preview the final group of clubs set to face the Coasters during the National League 2018-19 season…
2017-18 League Position: 19th
Manager: Jay Saunders
Key Player: Stuart Lewis
Maidstone endured a difficult second season in the National League, spending the majority of the season just above the relegation places. Back to back wins over the Coasters and Chester ensured the Stones retained their National League status by six points. Perhaps the highlight of the club’s season was their run to the Second Round of the FA Cup which included a 4-2 win at League Two side Cheltenham. Their run was eventually ended with a 4-1 defeat at League One Milton Keynes Dons. Manager Jay Saunders has guided the club to three promotions during his seven years at the club.
2017-18 League Position: 1st (National League North)
Manager: Graham Alexander
Key Player: Liam Hogan
The rise of Salford City has been well documented since the takeover by businessman Peter Lim and former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers. The Ammies have enjoyed three promotions in the last four seasons under the management of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, who recently left the club. The club turned full-time last summer and their Moor Lane home went under major redevelopment in order to achieve National League status. They confirmed their place in the fifth tier in underwhelming fashion with a 2-1 home defeat to Boston United, however Harrogate Town’s defeat at Bradford Park Avenue confirmed they would be champions. They are now managed by former Preston North End and Burnley defender Graham Alexander, who is expected to spend big this summer.
2017-18 League Position: 18th
Manager: Mark Yates
Key Player: Jamey Osborne
The Moors were one of the favourites for the drop last season and looked to be heading back to the National League North after a tough first half of the season. The signing of striker Adi Yussuf and the appointment of former Cheltenham Town boss Mark Yates saw a dramatic upturn in form which saw the club lose just four league games after Christmas. The Coasters recorded an impressive 4-0 win at Damson Park in October but could only manage a draw on the penultimate day of the season thanks to Andy Bond’s thumping header.
2017-18 League Position: 3rd
Manager: Paul Doswell
Key Player: Tom Bolarinwa
After their FA Cup heroics of 2016-17, which culminated in a Quarter Final tie at home to Arsenal, Sutton built on their success with a terrific third placed finish in 2017-18. A strong physical side that also possess bags of technical ability, manager Paul Doswell has made the U’s a tough side to beat. Despite losing four of the final five away fixtures, Sutton had the second best away record in the National League last season picking up 37 points on the road, only bettered by champions Macclesfield Town. Sutton are one of four sides that will play on an artificial 3G surface next season and following a highly publicised discussion with the EFL the club have stated that they will replace the surface should they earn promotion to the Football League.
2017-18 League Position: 10th
Manager: Sam Ricketts
Key Player: Shaun Pearson
A terrific start to the season saw the Dragons top the table several times during the first half of the season however a chronic lack of goals would be their undoing as the season progressed. Just four teams scored less goals than Wrexham in 2017-18 and striker Chris Holroyd was the only Wrexham player to score more than eight times. The departure of manager Dean Keates to Walsall triggered a dramatic loss of form for the Welsh side and they would eventually miss out on the play-offs despite losing just 10 games all season. Despite their lack of goals, the Dragons had the best defensive record in the division conceding just 39 goals in 46 games. The Coasters had the upper hand in the meetings this season, winning an FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie 1-0 before a 2-0 win in the league just ten days later. The Coasters sealed their place in the play-offs with a goalless draw at the Racecourse Ground on the final day of the season in front of more than 500 travelling Coasters fans. The club appointed former Welsh international and Premier League full back Sam Ricketts as their new manager this summer.