Flit makes light of injuries and bans

Chorley defender Mark Ross

Chorley defender Mark Ross

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Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft says he cannot have too many complaints about the way his players have begun the new season.

The title-winning Magpies, who were crowned NPL Premier Division champions last season, have adapted to life in the Conference North superbly.

After topping the division earlier this month, Chorley find themselves in third spot – just two points behind current leaders and neighbours AFC Fylde.

Saturday’s 2-0 win over Hednesford Town – courtesy of goals from Mark Ross and James Dean – was their sixth victory of the season and was just what they needed after losing only their second game of the campaign the week before at Worcester City.

Flitcroft has been particularly pleased with the way his men have coped with a series of injuries and suspensions to key individuals.

Harry Winter and Kyle Jacobs have been banned after picking up red cards, while skipper Andrew Teague and Jake Cottrell have been missing through injury.

They have joined longer-term absentees Adam Dodd, Tom Baker and Chris Almond on the treatment table at Victory Park.

Flitcroft told the Evening Post: “We’ve had a brilliant start. I couldn’t have asked for much more.

“I believe if we hadn’t had so many players missing at Worcester, we would have won that one too and we could be top.

“But you are going to lose at some point – you can’t go all the way through the season without losing.

“On Saturday we had a great result against Hednesford. They were up near the top last season and we knew it was going to be a really tough game.

“I asked the lads for a performance after losing against Worcester and that’s what I got. It was a great strike by Rossy for the first goal.

“He travelled about 30 to 40 yards with the ball before striking it into the top corner.

“He doesn’t score too many goals but when he does, they are usually outstanding strikes.

“It was a really good performance from him – all the lads played well. We have been struggling with the injuries. The lads who have been out are big players for us.

“But in fairness to the rest of the lads, they have gone out and got results.”

Winter and Jacobs serve the final game of their respective suspensions this weekend as Chorley welcome North West Counties League outfit Glossop North End to Victory Park in the FA Cup second round of qualifying.

Teague is close to a return although tomorrow’s match may come too soon for him but Jacobs is likely to be sidelined for between four to six weeks after undergoing surgery.

Flitcroft has strengthened his squad with the acquisition of defender Chris Doyle from Morecambe on loan, while winger Astley Mulholland has joined from FC United on a permanent deal. They both made their debuts last weekend.

The Magpies will start tomorrow’s match as the overwhelming favourites against Glossop, who are three divisions below them in the football pyramid.

“I went to watch them last Tuesday week against Northwich and they weren’t on it in the first half but, in the second half, they played very well and it’s going to be a tough game for us,” Flitcroft said.

In the NPL First Division North, Clitheroe host Northwich Victoria.