Chorley assistant boss Matt Jansen believes the Magpies are a different beast as they prepare to face last season’s title rivals FC United in the FA Trophy tomorrow.
Jansen’s Magpies fought off United’s late surge to clinch automatic promotion to the Conference North.
The Reds failed to make the leap up from the NPL Premier Division but Jansen says Chorley have gone from strength to strength since the sides last met and he is relishing the opportunity to crush United’s cup dreams at a jam-packed Victory Park.
He said: “We did well against FC United and I feel we have improved since then.
“We have added to the squad, strengthened and I feel we have taken a step forward.”
Magpies striker Darren Stephenson is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in their 2-0 first-round FA Trophy victory over Guiseley last month.
Jansen admitted the loss is a set back but revealed midfielder Tom Baker’s return is imminent.
He said: “Darren’s injury is a big blow to us. He was on fire before his injury and we will miss him. But Tom Baker is training again, which is a boost.”
Chorley’s FA Trophy campaign ended in heartbreak last term as Tamworth beat them on penalties in a third-round replay.
And Jansen is keen to go one step further this term. He said: “Last year we beat Forest Green and we held Tamworth to a draw.
“The Trophy is a distraction from the league but it also brings good revenue to the club and it is something we want to do well in.
“There is a chance we can play higher-league opposition in the later rounds and we want to test ourselves.”
The tasty clash will be Chorley’s first game of 2015 after their last three games were postponed due to frozen pitches. And Jansen revealed the enforced break allowed them to eye up their promotion rivals.
He said: “We are now going to have a backlog of games, which may be a hindrance. But it is nice to see how other teams got on whilst we were not playing.
“The Oxford game was called off and they will now have to travel up to Victory Park on a Tuesday night, which may benefit us.
“Before the break we beat Bradford Park Avenue and we are eyeing another victory.”