COLNE manager Steve Cunningham insists cup competitions will not hamper his side’s promotion hopes.

The Reds, who host Buxton in the FA Trophy tomorrow, have only played seven league games in the BetVictor Northern League North West Division.

Last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Brighouse Town was just their third league game since August having enjoyed a high profile run in the FA Cup and now the FA Trophy.

The loss means Colne languish in 17th place but Cunningham believes his side will be at the right end of the table come the end of the season.

“Promotion is our main focus, whether we finish top and go up as champions or finish fifth and go up via the play-offs,” he said “The cups have been great for us and we are playing catch-up in the league but that is something we will deal with."

Last weekend, Colne were leading 1-0 at Brighouse courtesy of a William Harris penalty but when Sefton Gonzales was sent off for two bookable offences, it changed the game.

But Colne did bounce back with a 5-0 midweek win over Bacup Borough in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy.

“Last weekend was disappointing and I felt for the lads because they were the better team," said Cunningham.

“We were leading and had chances to put the game to but but the sending off of Sefton changed the landscape of the game and then two silly errors cost us and we went and lost the game.

“We are playing catch-up in the league so a defeat does put that little bit of extra pressure on you."

He added: "It was good to bounce back against Bacup, it was a game we should have won because they are a few divisions below us but it was a game we had to go and win."

Cunningham admits his players got wrapped up in the hype of the cup competitions - something he says his team will learn from.

“There was a lot of hype surrounding our FA Cup tie at Gateshead; we went by coach, had breakfast and a team meeting at a hotel," he said. "Then compare that to Brighouse last weekend, we turn up in dribs and drabs in different cars. You shouldn’t let it effect you but it probably did but we will learn from that.”

But with league action on the back burner for another weekend at least, Cunningham insists his team will be fully focused on the FA Trophy clash with the BetVictor Premier League side – weather permitting.

“We are looking forward to taking on Buxton,” he added. “As far as we are concerned, we take each game as it comes whether in the league or cup.

“I would never play a weakened team because we want to win every game and create that winning mentality.

“But the last thing we need is the game to be called off due to the weather.”