Longridge Town look forward to playing more meaningful matches
Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft is looking forward to focusing purely on competitive football starting this week.
Town travel to Stalybridge Celtic for an FA Cup second qualifying round tie on Saturday after beating Charnock Richard last midweek.
The later start to the North West Counties League campaign has left clubs shifting their focus from pre-season outings to knockout cup ties and back again.
Town are no different as they have had to combine friendlies with three FA Cup ties against Winsford United, Widnes and Charnock Richard.
However, last Saturday’s 4-2 win against Abbey Hey was the final warm-up game for Ashcroft’s players ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bower Fold.
Speaking after the Abbey Hey game, Ashcroft said: “They have had a good pre-season and we’ll know come three or four weeks’ time where we’re at after six or seven league games.
“Pre-season has gone very well and we can’t wait for the season to start for real.
“The lads are probably sick of friendlies but they are out of the way.”
Town’s win over Abbey Hey came four days after the cup win against Charnock Richard and, as Ashcroft acknowledged, switching from competitive games to friendlies presented a challenge.
“The FA Cup game was a serious competition with tackles going in but, today, we never got going,” he said.
“I thought Lee Dovey was exceptional in goal for us but one or two weren’t at the races, and as we’ve said, they have to be at it every minute of every game.
“We played a different system with two strikers up there but I didn’t think it worked.
“Players make systems work, I keep telling them that, but we went back to our normal shape second half and looked a lot better.
“We’ve got a bit of a headache in what we’re going to do team-wise and shape-wise for Saturday but it’s a massive game and one we’re looking forward to.”