Longridge Town manager expects plenty of teams to be in the mix this season

Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft anticipates a highly competitive season when the North West Counties League campaign kicks off on Saturday.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 12:30 pm

After two seasons that ended early as a result of the pandemic, the hope is that 2021/22 will prove third time lucky.

Town begin their Premier Division campaign with Congleton Town the visitors to the Mike Riding Ground.

In recent years, Ashcroft’s players have been thought of as one of the sides likely to challenge the top six.

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However, he believes the arrival of clubs including Macclesfield FC, AFC Liverpool, Lower Breck, Prestwich Heys and Vauxhall Motors following the FA’s restructure – as well as others splashing cash – makes for a tough season.

When asked what success would constitute for Town this season, Ashcroft said: “Good question. In my eyes, to finish in the top six would be a dream.

“It’s going to be so difficult because every team has strengthened, I honestly can’t see a weak link in the division.

“It’s going to be a very competitive division with some very good football teams and squads.

“You look at Macclesfield and their results over pre-season, they have beaten teams from a lot higher up.

“They are going to be up there, they have sold lots of season tickets and, financially, they will be superior to most teams.

“Having said that, you can have all the money you want but it doesn’t guarantee you success.”

Town could have asked for an easier first month given, as well as Congleton, they come up against clubs including Macclesfield, Skelmersdale, Northwich Victoria and Barnoldswick Town.

The hope is that, despite signing a number of players over the summer, there could be further new faces still before the weekend.

Ashcroft said: “I’m happy with my squad as it stands.

“I’d like to bring in one or two more this week and then we’re ready to go – and we can’t wait to get started.”

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