RAMSBOTTOM United will hope to move a step closer to getting their hands on some silverware tonight - but it’s the beginning of a run of fixtures that will push Jon Robinson’s side to the limit.

Since replacing joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley on January 3, Robinson has taken charge of just one game thanks to a run of postponements that has seen the Rams plummet down the Evo-Stik League Premier Division table.


Tonight they welcome Harrogate Railway Athletic to the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium in the quarter-finals of the Doodson Sport Cup.

The Rams are one of only two top division clubs in the last eight, along with Ilkeston FC, but Robinson believes his side’s lack of games could give their First Division North visitors the edge.

“It’s a good opportunity to get some silverware,” he said. “We’ve got a good chance of winning but I wouldn’t say we were favourites.

“You can’t put that tag on us when we have barely played a game recently and Harrogate have been playing most weeks.

“It’s difficult to asses the form, it’s been frustrating. you can do as much as you like in training but it’s no substitute for playing games.”

The Rams have played just one game in the last 40 days, a 3-1 win against Northwich Victoria in the last round of the Doodson Sport Cup.

But they will have to play at least twice a week every week between now and the end of the season, and also face at least one three-game week.

“At the moment it’s about keeping the players happy,” said Robinson. “Six or seven of the new lads have come from teams who are playing every week, now they have come here and we’ve had one game.

“We’ve got 22 players in the squad, we’re going to have to look at rotation as well when we start playing.

“With a small squad it’s very difficult to play two or three times a week, and the more players are tired the greater the chance of injuries.”

Robinson’s side are down in 17th at the moment, but they have as many as 11 games in hand on some of their rivals.

Indeed should they win all 11 they would end up with more points than current leaders Skelmersdale United.

“We’re in a false position, if we win all our games in hand we could go top of the league,” said the Rams manager.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win them all but it shows the situation we are in.

“It’s hard to know how we will cope with all the games, but our hope is push for the play-offs, it’s going to be hard because of the number of games but we will keep pushing.”

Ramsbottom have rearranged their fixture with Blyth Spartans which was postponed on Saturday.

The clash at the Harry Williams Riverside stadium will now take place on Thursday, March 19 with a 7.45pm kick off.

No pitch inspection is planned for tonight’s game with Rams officials reporting yesterday that the pitch was in perfect condition and were optimistic that the game would beat the weather.

The Rams have also drafted in two players from neighbours Droylsden ahead of the tie. Defender Alex Frost and Matthew Burke have come in from Droylsden who are riding high in the Evo-Stik League Division One North.