Nelson face “the defining part of our season” after being told they have to play five games in seven days by the North West Counties League.
A spate of postponements have left clubs having to play catch-up, and the league are not prepared to grant an extension to the season.
That means the Admirals have 15 games to play before the end of April, as they look to avoid a bottom two finish, and likely relegation to the West Lancashire League Premier Division.
Blues boss Steve Cunningham had made a trio of signings to help his squad cope – bringing in forward Matt Buckley from Chadderton, former Colne and Padiham man Kieran Demaine, and Jamie Wynne from the Welsh Premier League, who can play central midfield or at the back.
Nelson will look to close a two-point gap to Daisy Hill – opponents in two of the five games – and St Helens, who are seven ahead, having played four games more: “I’ve just had confirmation that we’ve got five games in seven days – tomorrow we’re at home to New Mills, Monday we’re at home to Holker Old Boys, Wednesday we’re at Daisy Hill, the Saturday we’re at Whitchurch Alport, and then we’re at home to Daisy Hill on the Monday.
“This is going to be the defining part of our season.
“Our squad is going to be stretched, but I’ve managed to get three lads in who’ll help freshen us up.”
Cunningham admits, for the first time, he wouldn’t mind the weather intervening again: “The weather is supposed to turn again, the Beast from the East 2! I wouldn’t say no to one of the games being postponed, and that’s the first time I’ve ever said that in my career.
“We need to start the season earlier, get in front of ourselves – the weather is gradually getting worse over the last five years or so.
“The chairman is investigating the possibility of a 4G pitch – but you would have to match the FA pound for pound, so you would still probably need £200,000.
“That is probably the way forward, the community could use it as well, you could use it seven days a week.”
Cunningham remains positive about avoiding the drop: “I still feel we can save ourselves and avoid relegation. It looks like we would go into the West Lancs League Premier Division.
“I watch a lot of football, and that level is probably harder than the one we’re in right now.”