AFC DARWEN skipper Adam Douglas believes his side can cope in the North West Counties League Premier Division next season.

The Salmoners secured promotion from Division One after a thrilling 5-3 victory over Hanley Town at the WEC Anchor Ground on Saturday in front of a crowd of 845 fans.


And while Douglas is under no illusions how tough the step up will be, he remains confident that Darwen can compete.

“We’re looking forward to the Premier Division now,” the Salmoners skipper told the league’s official website.

“We’re under no illusions, we know it will be a lot more difficult with some of the teams in there. But we have played a few of the teams in the cup this year and managed to get good results, so we will be going in full of confidence.

“It’s not going to be easy, but we will get our heads down in pre-season and see how it goes”.

Douglas added that he was delighted his side had managed to secure the play-off win after enduring a daunting run of 12 games in the final four weeks of the season.

He added: “When you looked at the fixtures schedule we had (at the end of the season), it looked daunting, but when we got on a run, we were just looking forward to the next game, then the next one after that.

“With injuries and suspensions, everything just seemed to keep going for us, and that momentum took us into the play offs and really got us over the line in the end.

“The aim at the start of the season was always to get promotion, although it was hard to envisage we’d get there at the mid-point of the season when we were mid-table. But we just seemed to hit form at the right time.”

Darwen became the league’s first winners of the play-off system which was only introduced last summer and Douglas believes it has been a roaring success.

He added: “From the League’s point of view, with it being the first time for the play offs, I think everything has worked really well, and there’s no better way to go up.”