Run-in will be no coast for Chorley

Garry Flitcroft

Garry Flitcroft

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Chorley will be aiming to avert a mini-slump when they travel to relegation-threatened Witton Albion tomorrow afternoon.

The NPL Premier Division leaders picked up just one point over the past week as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Grantham Town on Saturday, before losing to a late goal against Rushall Olympic at Victory Park in midweek.

The Magpies have no need to panic – they still hold a healthy three-point advantage over second-placed Skelmersdale United with a game in hand.

However, they will be keen to make sure the past week is nothing more than a blip in their quest for promotion to the Conference North.

One of the teams ready to pounce should Garry Flitcroft’s men come unstuck in the next few weeks is AFC Fylde.

From looking down and out around Christmas after a torrid run of five successive defeats, the Coasters have risen to third in the table. They have won 10 in an 11-match unbeaten run and are six points behind Chorley, although the Magpies still have two games in hand.

Assistant manager Colin Woodthorpe, who will be preparing his side to face Blyth Spartans away tomorrow, admits he has been thrilled with the way the players have responded since their last defeat – incidentally against Chorley – on New Year’s Day.

“I must admit, I hadn’t looked at the league table when we were on that losing run, but I believe we dropped as low as 10th,” Woodthorpe said.

“But we were always confident with the quality of our squad, we would start picking up points and get back in the play-off mix. We have got everything to play still.

“We will continue to push and make it as hard as we possibly can for the other teams around us.”

Woodthorpe accepts that the destiny of the title is in Chorley’s hands, but with 10 games of the season to go anything could still yet happen at the top of the table.

“We’ve just got to ignore the games in hand and just try to reel those points in – that’s all we can do,” Woodthorpe said.

In the NPL First Division North this weekend, Burscough host Wakefield, Kendal Town travel to Farsley and Clitheroe visit Northwich Victoria.

Southport look for more survival points in the Conference Premier when they host Dartford tomorrow.