COLNE boss Steve Cunningham is hoping his side can move a step closer to ending their wait for silverware with victory at Holker Old Boys tonight.

The Reds, currently top of the North West Counties Premier Division, travel up to Barrow-in-Furness with a spot in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy quarter-finals at stake.


The winners of the tie will host Bamber Bridge in the last eight after the draw was made yesterday.

And with AFC Fylde, winners in three of the last five years, already knocked out, the fight for a spot in the final, usually held at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium, looks wide open.

Colne were North West Counties League Division Two league and cup winners 12 years ago, while Colne Dynamoes were twice winners of the Challenge Trophy in 1998/89 and 1989/90.

One tilt at silverware ended on Saturday when the Reds were knocked out of the FA Vase by Newton Aycliffe, and Cunningham admitted he was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the result, having seen his side come from 3-1 down to force extra time, before they were beaten 5-3.

“For the final 20 minutes and extra-time we absolutely dominated, they couldn’t get out of their half,” he said.

“To get it back to 2-1 and then concede almost straight from the kick-off for 3-1, we showed some real character, character I’ve not seen from the team before, to get it back to 3-3 and we hit the post and their keeper made a double save in injury time. We had chances to win the game.

“There were more positives out of that then any loss I’ve ever had. The character, the fitness considering we hadn’t played for three weeks, the togetherness, the quality of our football.

“I said to them at the end that if we can play like we did in the second half and extra time in every game we play this season we will win the league by about 15 or 20 points.

“It’s going to be difficult. That kind of quality you can’t produce every week, a lot of that is the adrenalin, the atmosphere, the occasion, and you don’t have that if you’ve got someone like a Bacup Borough coming to yours on a Tuesday night, that type of game.”

Changes are likely to be made for tonight’s trip to Cumbria, but Cunningham insists that doesn’t mean he isn’t taking the competition seriously.

He said: “We broke records last season but they’re just stats, you’ve got to back it up with some silverware and we’ve got a great chance.”

Quarter final draw in full: Lancaster City v Ashton Athletic, Colne or Holker Old Boys v Bamber Bridge, Atherton Collieries v Padiham, Chorley v Clitheroe/Bacup Borough