AFC Darwen hope the success of the club’s ‘Juniors Day’ will lead to more fans becoming regulars down the WEC Group Anchor Ground.

The Salmoners’ 3-1 success over Atherton LR attracted their biggest crowd of the season with 350 supporters coming through the gates.

All adult-paying fans took advantage of the club’s offer of a free pie and a pint on an afternoon when the teams from Darwen’s thriving junior section were shown off before and during half-time at the game.

Salmoners caretaker manager Nick Lloyd, whose in-form side host AFC Blackpool tonight in a rearranged Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy tie (7.45pm), said: “It's something we decided as a committee to do some time ago.

“We did a pie and pint promotion last year and it was well supported and having the juniors all down on Saturday helped as well.

“If it brings maybe 20 or 30 people down again for the next game, it will all help to pay the bills.

“A day like this shows how we are a community club and hopefully that will encourage more people to come down and watch us again, especially the juniors.

“The hope is that kids aged seven and eight will come down and watch a first-team game and think that in 10 years’ time it could be them playing out there.”

Lloyd, with the help of director of football Kevin Gallacher, the former Blackburn Rovers and Scotland star, has not lost in seven games since taking temporary charge of the club.

Darwen will aim to extend that run tonight by knocking higher-division Blackpool out of the historic county competition for the third time in four seasons.

Lloyd said: “It’s boy’s own stuff really and the law of averages says that at some point I will suffer a defeat.

“We've tweaked one or two things and brought a couple of players in and obviously having Kevin Gallacher at the club helps massively.

“He is a great source of knowledge and information and every day I am learning, I am really loving it.

“I love the club anyway and it was a very proud moment to be asked to take over as manager.

“I can’t ask any more of the lads. Most of them are Darwen lads and don’t want to play anywhere else.

“We've had clubs from higher leagues come in for some of them and they don’t want to go, they want to stay here.

“We've got a squad now where we have people pushing in every position.

“The players know that if they get a chance they have got to take it.”

Elsewhere tonight Padiham entertain Bamber Bridge in the Doodson Sport Cup (7.45pm).