Richie: Title is still on

Richie Allen
Richie Allen
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AFC Fylde striker Richie Allen has urged his team-mates not to dwell on the team’s recent indifferent form.

The Coasters have let slip a seemingly impregnable position at the top of the Conference North and are now second favourites to lift the title behind Barrow.

After beating the Cumbrians back to back over the festive period, Fylde soared to the top of the table and at one point led by five points and boasted a game in hand.

However, a run of just three wins from their past 11 league games has handed the initiative back to Barrow.

With six games remaining, Dave Challinor’s men now find themselves two points off the top having played a game more.

On Saturday, they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by relegated Hyde at Kellamergh Park – and tomorrow they face lowly Gainsborough Trinity away.

“I think we have just hit our bad run at the wrong time,” Allen said.

“We have not had a really bad run but at the start of the season we were finding our feet in this new league and then we went on an unbelievable run of wins.

“We beat Barrow back to back and, at one time, we were five points clear at the top with a game in hand.

“Every team goes through a bit of a bad run but unfortunately for us, ours has come at a time when everything means everything.

“It looks like it’s going to be a big ask to catch Barrow now.

“It’s deflating for everybody when you think where we were at one time.

“We are just hoping on other results and it’s out of our hands.

“But we can’t dwell on it. Even if we can’t win the league, we need to make sure we are the in-form team going into the play-offs.”

Although conceding it is Barrow’s title to lose now, Allen believes maximum points from the remaining six games could be enough to hand the Coasters the title.

On paper, Fylde appear to have an easier run-in than their title rivals and that has not gone unnoticed in the dressing room at Kellamergh Park .

“If we win six games out of six, you never know,” Allen said.

“We know Barrow have got to play Chorley, North Ferriby United and Tamworth.

“They have still got to play Stockport County, so they have got a tough run-in .

“In the last two months we have played a lot of teams near the top and I think Saturday’s match was our first at home in about four or five games. So I think there’ll be twists and turns.”

Allen, who started on the bench last weekend after missing the previous game through illness, will be hoping to notch his 20th goal of the season tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Southport will be looking to extend their excellent recent record when they host Torquay United this weekend.

The Sandgrounders have gone five games unbeaten, which has eased their relegation worries.

They are now six points clear of the drop zone with a game in hand on three of their rivals below them.

Paul Carden’s men have won their last two, including Saturday’s 2-1 win over Dartford. They will be confident of registering their third successive win as former Football League outfit Torquay are only just above them in the table and have won just one of their previous six games.

Having won two and drawn two of their last four games at home, Carden is hopeful of another good result in front of their own fans tomorrow.

“The sign of a good side is to have good home form and that is what we want,” Carden said.”

“We want the home fans to go home happy.”