NELSON boss Paul Fildes will use his side's trip to table topper Runcorn Linnets tomorrow to assess the standard his squad has to reach to challenge for North West Counties Premier Division honour next season.

The Admirals are 14th this term with little to play for, but since taking the reins at Victoria Park at the start of November Fildes has insisted he is spending most of his time planning for next season.

Last weekend he got his first win in charge of the club, at the sixth time of asking, as the Blues beat Alsager Town 3-0, and Fildes admitted it had been a long time coming.

"It was a massive weight off the shoulders, after everything we've done in training it was great to get that first win," he said.

"We played very well, we kept the ball, we made them work for it, and took our goals well. One was a penalty but the other two we worked well and finished them well."

Nelson came close to that first win in a 4-4 derby draw with Fildes' former club Padiham, throwing away a 3-1 and 4-3 lead in the closing stages.

But having sealed the Admirals first three points in the league since mid-October, Fildes returns to another forming stomping ground tomorrow.

"You could say that about most of the league considering my career," he said of a trip to a Linnets outfit nine points clear at the top.

"I was down there with Steve Wilkes, but I never played at their ground now, they were playing at Northwich at the time. There's still a few lads there who I played with.

"They're a strong side, one of the favourites to win the league on a good budget. They're very good going forwards but a little bit dicky going the other way. Going off Saturday's performance we were solid at the back and solid going forward, so it could be a good game.

"For me it's a chance to look at where we are a team now and what I need to be doing to get us to that standard for next year."

Waqas Azam netted twice in the win over Alsager, making it four goals in three games, but Fildes has been delighted with the attitude all of his squad have shown since he replaced Mark Fell.

"The lads attitude and commitment has been brilliant," he said.

"On Saturday the subs that didn't get on ran on the pitch and celebrated with the players. It's good to see, because there's nothing worse than being a sub and not getting on, I've been there.

"For them to get up and do that shows how keen they are and how much it means to them as a team and a club.

"It makes me feel better as a manager. I don't want them feeling down. They know they will get their chance with all these games that are to come, so it's good to see them sticking together now.

"It's building a foundation for next year, the lads know that, they want to be involved in my plans for next year."

Elsewhere AFC Darwen host Congleton Town, Barnoldswick Town travel to Alsager, Padiham are at home to Maine Road and second placed Colne are away at West Didsbury and Chorlton.

In the First Division Bacup Borough are away at Irlam.