League’s top two on collision course

Morecambe captain Josh Dixon will lead his table-topping side into battle against Darwen

Morecambe captain Josh Dixon will lead his table-topping side into battle against Darwen

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It is first against second in the Northern Premier League on Saturday.

Top-of-the-table Morecambe host Darwen at Woodhill Lane in the first part of a huge double-header.

Josh Dixon’s side, two points clear at the summit, then travel to local rivals Lancaster on bank holiday Monday as they bid to lift a title they last won in 2006.

Dixon said: “It’s a crunch weekend but the kind you want to be involved in because it means you are in with a chance of winning something.

“There will be pressure but it’s the kind you want.

“We know two positive results will put us in with a great chance.”

Morecambe saw their lead cut to just two points last time out with a losing draw against Leyland.

Dixon is readying his side, knowing two positive results will put his side within touching distance of the championship.

He said: “The derby is the game you always look for in the fixtures and it’s even more key this weekend.

“Darwen don’t play on Monday and it’s something we need to take advantage of.

“The losing draw at Leyland last Saturday was frustrating but we’re still in pole position.”

Lancaster, who first travel to St Annes on Saturday, will not be there simply to make up the numbers however, despite seemingly having little to play for.

Batsman Alex Metcalfe said: “Our form hasn’t been very good of late – we need to show a bit more character in our play.

“Even though the season is winding down for us, this weekend and Monday give us a massive opportunity to have a real say in the league standings.

“Regardless of the situation, a local derby is always a huge fixture.

“We aim to make it tough – there will be no rolling over come Monday.”

Elsewhere in the Northern Premier League on Saturday, Preston travel to Blackpool, Chorley host Kendal and Leyland visit Netherfield.

In the Palace Shield, with just 10 points separating the top four teams, the pick of Saturday’s matches sees third-in-the-table Longridge host fourth-placed Garstang at the Newsham Memorial Cricket Ground.

Garstang skipper Ian Walling wants his men to take all the positives from Saturday’s win against Penwortham into the derby clash.

He said: “Longridge are a tough side – they’re going for the title and I want us to mirror Saturday’s win.

“We need to build as much pressure as possible, that’s what we did on Saturday and I want us to do that again.

“I think we play at our best when we are applying the 
pressure. We are itching to get going for the weekend.”

Top-of-the-pile Great Eccleston travel to fifth-in-the-table Vernon Carus, while Freckleton – just two points back in second – visit Penwortham on what looks to be a pivotal day in the title race.

FIXTURES

NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE: Blackpool v Preston, Chorley v Kendal, Morecambe v Darwen, Netherfield v Leyland, Penrith v Fleetwood, St Annes v Lancaster.

PALACE SHIELD PREMIER DIVISION: BAC/EE Preston v Fulwood & Broughton, Hoghton v Croston, Longridge v Garstang, Penwortham v Freckleton, Thornton Cleveleys v Fylde, Vernon Carus v Great Eccleston.