Longridge Town camp hope to avoid one particular hat-trick next season

Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft is hopeful of a return to normality for the 2021/22 football season.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 12:30 pm

Having brought an early end to the 2019/20 North West Counties Football League campaign, the pandemic looks to have done the same to the 2020/21 programme subject to FA Council ratification.

The first of those seasons had seen Town well in the mix for promotion into the Northern Premier League with a dozen games remaining.

However, the following campaign never really got off the ground with the NWCFL placed on hiatus at the end of December and Town having only played four matches.

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Longridge Town last played at the end of December Picture: Adam Gee

With the hope being that all lockdown restrictions can be lifted in June, Ashcroft believes the NWCFL will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick of early finishes in 2021/22.

“I think the league are only going to start if the FA guarantee we can finish it,” he said.

“It’s been a nightmare for the past two seasons but I think, this time, we’ll get it right and I’m sure, come August, we’ll be back starting again.

“I think the season that’s just finished is null and void but they have asked if any teams wanted to get promotion.

“We’re well ahead of where we want to be at the moment, but we need to be in this division for the foreseeable future and continue to build the club on and off the pitch.”

Talks are taking place between Ashcroft and his Town squad over who is willing to return for the new season.

The aim is to try and retain as many of his players as possible, though there is always the danger that clubs from higher up the pyramid will come in for some of Town’s principal performers.

Ashcroft said: “I want to stick with the lads who haven’t let me down.

“They have progressed and done well. I know it was a short season but we did well and they will get better as they get older.

“We have lost a few players over the last few seasons because we have done well but there’s not a lot you can do.

“I’ve been a manager for 16 years and I’ve progressed players, other managers seem to trust what I do.

“Losing players is part and parcel of the job but when you see people like George Thomason and the way he’s progressing at Bolton Wanderers, then that makes you feel proud.”

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