Boss keeps calm as Barnoldswick get set for table topping tilt

BUOYANT Barnoldswick Town co-boss Ben Hall insists the destiny of the North West Counties League title will not be decided by tomorrow’s collision between his men and big-hitters Bootle – and expects many more twists and turns between now and the end of the season.

Barlick welcome the league leading Merseysiders to the Silentnight Stadium for the Premier Division game of the season to date and go into the clash in second spot just one point behind with three games in hand.

And while Hall knows his men could be top by 5pm, he is also sure there is much work to do in the remaining 15 matches.

“This game isn’t going to decide anything,” declared Hall. “There is still a third of the season to go and anything can happen.

“We had a little dip a few weeks ago and I think that all the teams at the top end of the table will lose games between now and the end of the season – but that makes for an exciting league.”

Despite keeping his men grounded, Hall is relishing the clash and is hoping to see a bumper crowd swelled by Burnley fans not making the trip to Watford.

“It will be a good game,” he added.

“Bootle are a good side and have not lost in 20 games but we will give it a good go and we are all looking forward to it.”

Barlick are sweating on the fitness of defender Jack Overson and have one or two other niggles but Hall said: “That’s all to be expected at this stage of the season.”

In an increasingly congested business end of the table, Ramsbottom are also heavily involved in the scrap for glory – but their hopes were hit on Wednesday when they lost 2-1 to AFC Liverpool and look to bounce back against Runcorn Linnets at the Riverside.

That game marked the return to Rammy of Gary Stopforth on loan from AFC Fylde.

Former Kendal skipper Stopforth helped the Rams to second spot last year after joining late in the season.

Nelson have a big game as they face Northwich Villa in the First Division Trophy quarter-finals, while in the Premier Division Colne are on the road to Flixton and Bacup travel to face St Helens Town, while Padiham also face a road trip to Staffordshire for their game at Stone.

On the Evo-Stik League Premier Division Chorley aim to get their promotion push back on track after last week’s loss at Ashton United with a Victory Park meeting with Mickleover Sports, while Clitheroe are on the road in the First Division North and head to Stainton Park for their clash with Radcliffe Borough.

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