AFC Darwen boss Luke Evans is not ruling out a title charge at the Anchor Ground as his side prepare for a Christmas triple-header.

The Salmoners have won four on the spin to climb into the top six and although there is a 14-point gap to leaders Longridge, Evans believes his side can be championship contenders.

“I’m not ruling it out,” said the Darwen boss whose side have three home games in a week starting with the visit of St Helens Town tomorrow.

“I can’t see us losing at the moment, we have won five of our last six and are second in the form table.

“It is a big gap to Longridge and they should probably finish the job but stranger things have happened.

“We still have to play them and Carlisle (in second) at home and have beaten both of them away already this season so we will see where we go.

“No-one is talking about us as title challengers and we quite like that, we are happy to go under the radar and see where it takes us.”

Indeed, Evans is frustrated that his side are only sixth given a run of one win in nine games in all competitions prior to their change in fortunes.

“Even if we had managed one or two more wins that would give us a real chance,” he added.

“We have turned a corner in the last few weeks and it has just come down to getting everybody fit and being able to pick our strongest XI on a regular basis.

“Elliot Pond has been scoring goals for fun up front and we have Sam Holt and Sam Knowles together at centre backs and they have made a big difference. They have even weighed in with a few goals as well.”

Despite his side’s upturn in fortunes the Darwen chief still sees room for improvement with his side’s defensive record an area of concern.

“We have only kept one clean sheet all season which we do need to sort out but on the other hand we are scoring a lot of goals and winning games.

“We have three games to look forward to in the next week and if we can get nine points from them it will be 27 out of 30 and that is fantastic form.

“We will keep going and see where it takes us.”

Following tomorrow’s game, Darwen host Prestwich Heys on Boxing Day before welcoming Bacup Borough the following Saturday.

Elsewhere, Bacup Borough entertain Carlisle City while Nelson, who saw their midweek game against the Cumbrians, entertain Holker Old Boys.

In the Premier Division, Barnoldswick Town travel to Padiham.

The Storks are without a manager after Liam Smith and Dixon Lambert left the club following a 4-1 reverse to Winsford United last weekend.

Barlick, who won 8-1 at Knaresborough Town in the West Riding Cup third round on Tuesday night, are in fine form.

Matt Barnes’ men have won seven straight games in all competitions, scoring 36 goals and sit sixth in the standings.

They are currently top of the league form table while Padiham, in 15th, are bottom of the form table after a disappointing run of results.