Leaders Freck face a crunch weekend

Andrew Hogarth

Andrew Hogarth

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Freckleton skipper Andrew Hogarth says his team have a ‘massive’ weekend ahead of them in the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield Premier Division.

The men from Bush Lane are riding high on the crest of a wave at the moment after winning five out of six in a unbeaten start to the season.

The great run – which has only been spoiled by a rain abandoned fixture at Great Eccleston – has seen Freckleton soar to the top of the table.

But they face a real test of their title credentials tomorrow when they entertain second-placed Garstang.

Ian Walling’s men are just seven points behind and can go back to the top of the table with a victory this weekend.

After tomorrow, Hogarth and his team then face a tough-looking trip to Longridge in the first round of the Meyler Cup.

Having won the competition in 2012 and 2013, Freckleton will be hoping for another good cup run this year.

“We’ve got a couple of massive games this weekend,” Hogarth said.

“We are looking at the Meyler Cup as a good opportunity to win something.

“As far the league is concerned, it’s far too early to talk about a title tilt.

“It’s one of those where you just take every game as it comes,

“We have had a good start, but we are not going to get carried away.

“Garstang is a massive game. We are seven points ahead of them at the moment.

“They have brought in a couple of new players and the Walling brothers are big players in their team.

“Then we have got Longridge, which will be another tough game.

“If we can get two wins out of those two games, it will say a lot about our team.”

Freckleton made a number of signings over the summer and Hogarth believes that has been crucial to their early success.

“We are a good young team,” he said.

“We brought in five players over the winter and have built on what we did last season.

“We’ve always had the players who are capable of winning games, but the players we have been able bring in have given us that extra strength in depth.”

Meanwhile, last season’s top two in the Northern League Division One go head to head tomorrow.

Reigning champions Blackpool travel to Fox Lane to take on Leyland, who finished in runners-up spot in 2014.

The two teams have had contrasting fortunes at the start of this summer.

Blackpool look determined to defend their crown and are currently handily placed in second spot in the table – six points off leaders Morecambe.

Leyland have so far struggled to reproduce the same form as last season and after seven games, they find themselves below mid-table after picking up just three wins.