Former Carlisle United striker Paddy Madden last night fired Stockport County to the brink of promotion back to the Football League.

The Irish striker got the only goal in a 1-0 win over Torquay United.

It put the Hatters three points clear at the top of the National League with one game to go.

And Stockport will now be strongly fancied to complete the job when they take on fourth-placed FC Halifax Town on Saturday.

Only defeat for Stockport could allow second-plaed Wrexham past them on the final day.

The Welsh outfit, whose goal difference is superior by one goal, take on eighth-placed Dagenham & Redbridge.

Ex-Blues man Madden, 32, scored from close range in the 64th minute in front of 9,407 fans at Edgeley Park last night, pushing Stockport closer to a return to the EFL after an absence of 11 years.

It was a 24th goal in 46 appearances this season for the striker, who joined the Hatters from Fleetwood.

Madden was signed by Carlisle from Bohemians back in 2011 but struggled for first-team involvement, scoring two goals in 36 appearances.

But he flourished on loan at Yeovil Town and went on to carve out an impressive lower-league goalscoring career with the Glovers, Scunthorpe United and Fleetwood.

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Stockport have been backed by wealthy owner Mark Stott in their bid to return to the Football League.

Their backroom set-up includes another ex-United man in Matt Jansen, who is involved in a recruitment and player liaison capacity.

If they complete the promotion job it will mean a first visit to Edgeley Park for Carlisle since 2009.

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