JOINT Barnoldswick Town boss Ben Hall believes his side will be the ones to beat when he has a fully fit squad at his disposal.
The North West Counties Premier Division outfit have endured an injury-riddled campaign to date with several key players having been sidelined.
Last season’s top scorer Spencer Jordan, who found the back of the net 23 times, along with Rob Smith, who struck 19 times, haven’t featured yet this term while Sean Clough, Mark Threlfall, Aaron Hollindrake and Neil Chapman (pictured) have all faced lengthy absences.
But to Town’s credit they’ve handled the situation with complete professionalism, hence why they sit seventh in the table with 33 points and have games in hand on numerous clubs above. “We’ve done very well,” declared Hall.
“I don’t think any team in the division would have coped as well as we have with all the injuries we’ve had to contend with.
“It’s been horrendous, really frustrating. Sean Clough, Spencer Jordan and Rob Smith haven’t kicked a ball for us yet.
“Mark Threlfall has been missing as well as has Aaron Hollindrake and Neil Chapman. The list goes on. It’s been hard work.”
The likes of Paul Fildes and Danny Boyle have been drafted in from Colne and Nelson respectively in a bid to boost numbers at Victory Park while reserve team players were added to the bench for the FA Vase victory over Armthorpe Welfare having already played a Craven Cup tie against Rolls Royce.
Hall said: “They’ve done well, though I expect a bit more from them.
“But a lack of options has been costing us a little bit.
“It’s tough to find momentum or consistency when you don’t have a full selection to go at. They’ve done well under the circumstances.
“It’s been endless, we’ve just had one problem after another and it has meant that this season we have really had to dig deep in games where we have had a weakened side out, and had to get points in those games.”
Not only are Barnoldswick delicately poised for a promotion push in the league, the club has also reached the third round of the FA Vase competition for the first time. where they’ll face AFC Emley on home soil on December 8th.
“The hope is to win the league and the FA Vase,” Hall said.
“If we had everyone available and we didn’t have that scale of injuries I believe we would have gone on to win the league.
“It’s going to be tough now but we’re certainly not giving up on it. We’ve just got to keep going.
“We’ve made history by making the last 64 in the Vase which is great and we’ll look to build on that.”
Town host Bacup Borough on Saturday looking to stay on course with the division’s elite, and with players expected to return over the Christmas and New Year period Hall is adamant that his side will start matching the expectation.
“It bodes well for the future but we’re still confident of achieving things now,” he said.
“We just hope things get better for us.
“In this league you can’t afford to experiment because you need to build that consistency.
“The expectation on us is to win every week because we are a big team in that league. We just want a crack at it where we’ve got a fully fit squad.
“When we were promoted in to this division three years ago nobody gave us a chance but now we’re the team everybody wants to beat. That shows how far we have come.”