Magpies face Red Rebels showdown

Andy Teague

Andy Teague

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Title rivals Chorley and FC United go head to head this evening in a clash which will go a long way to deciding the destiny of the NPL Premier Division crown.

The top two meet at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground (7.45pm) with the Magpies currently holding the advantage at the summit of the table.

Saturday’s 13-1 thrashing of already-relegated Droylsden gave their goal difference a tremendous boost.

That could prove key come the end of the season, with things tight at the top.

Chorley have a three-point lead over FC United but have played a game more.

Their goal difference is now a more than healthy plus-60 with the Red Rebels on plus-49.

A large Magpies following will be among a bumper-sized crowd tonight.

The reverse fixture at Victory Park a month ago attracted a 2,171 attendance, with that also a midweek game.

Segregation will be in place, Chorley allocated a section of the main stand.

If Garry Flitcroft’s side can bring the three points back along the M61, it would make them firm favourites to lift the title.

A draw would maintain the status quo, leaving FC United needing to win their game in hand to pull level on points.

Flitcroft was delighted with Saturday’s goal-fest, which saw James Dean bag a hat-trick.

Jack Dorney, Dale Whitham and Max Cartwright all bagged two each, with Josh Hine and Darren Stephenson also on the scoresheet.

Two Bloods players – Ben Heneghan and Ged Murphy – put through their own goal as the Magpies romped to their biggest victory since 1946.

Chorley boss Flitcroft was understandably in buoyant mood after the weekend romp.

Said Flitcroft: “Full credit to my lads. I asked them to make sure their attitudes were right playing the basement team and they’ve done that.

“We pressed them high up top as we knew they would try and play from the back, we managed to nicked a lot of goals up top and we scored plenty of good goals.”

Keiran Walmsley and Keil O’Brien are available tonight after completing suspensions.

O’Brien, Andy Teague and Adam Mather were named in the NPL Premier Division team of the year at the league’s awards night on Sunday.

Bamber Bridge striker Ali Waddecar was in the First Division North team of the year.

Meanwhile, North West motor dealership the Chorley Group have agreed a record seventh year of sponsorship with the Magpies.

Flitcroft said: “I would like to thank Andy Turner and the Chorley Group for their magnificent support. Their backing during the time I’ve been at the club has been nothing short of sensational.”