Magpies keeping it clean says Teague
Club captain Andrew Teague believes Chorley's new defensive solidity can provide the foundations for a promotion push this season.
The Magpies have begun the new National League campaign in miserly fashion – conceding just nine goals from their opening 12 league games.
Along with Kidderminster Harriers, they have conceded the fewest goals of any team in the division.
It is far different to last season where Chorley – who eventually finished eighth in the table – had the second-worst goals-against record out of teams in the top half of the division.
Boss Matt Jansen and his assistant Jamie Vermiglio identified the team’s defensive fallibility as an area on which to work on during pre-season.
They have formulated a new three centre-half defensive system, which has so far made the team a little less cavalier and harder to beat.
Barring a few initial teething problems in the opening game of the season when they drew 3-3 against FC United at Victory Park – albeit a game which saw centre-half Teague red carded – the new system has worked well.
They have kept seven clean sheets in the league and have lost only once – a 2-0 away defeat to third-placed Darlington 1883.
Having picked up six wins, the Magpies occupy the final play-off position and look well set to sustain their position in the higher echelons of the division.
When asked if the Magpies have made a conscious effort to be more frugal at the back, Teague said: “I think so. I think we needed to improve defensively.
“We conceded a lot of sloppy goals last season – we were conceding goals which should never have happened.
“This season we have just been going quietly about our business to be honest. We have been keeping the clean sheets and we are always capable of nicking a goal at the other end with the strikers we have got.
“It’s given us that platform – and we just need to keep it going.”
Teague admits the new formation suits himself and his fellow centre-halves Scott Leather, Keiran Charnock and Stephen Jordan – often meaning one of them missing out on selection in the starting XI.
“The new formation works well for all the lads – it does not matter who is in the formation, we still look strong,” Teague said.
“I was out of the team for a while after getting sent off against FC United.
“Somebody else came into the team and helped us keep three cleans sheets on the spin.
“So I had to bide my time and wait for my chance to get back in the team.”
This weekend, the Magpies welcome Harrogate Town to Victory Park for a league fixture, looking to bounce back after last Saturday’s surprise 1-0 defeat at Spennymoor Town in the FA Cup third round of qualifying.
Tomorrow is officially known as “Non-League Day” due to the international break, which means there is a gap in both the Premier League and Championship’s fixture calendar.
Semi-professional clubs are hoping football fans will continue to get their football fix by coming along to a non-league game.
Teague insists fans coming along to Victory Park will see a fully committed home team.
“We want to win the league this season. That’s our aim. After that, the next aim is the play-offs,” he said.