Town aim to preserve proud home record

Joe Gaughan is Barnoldswick Town's top scorer with 17 goals
Joe Gaughan is Barnoldswick Town's top scorer with 17 goals
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Barnoldswick Town look to preserve an impressive home record against high-flying 1874 Northwich tomorrow.

Town, who sit 10th, hope to play only their third game since December 8th against third place Northwich, having won six, drawn two and lost only one – against Runcorn Town – at the Silentnight Beds Stadium.

It’s three weeks since Town’s only game of the new year, a 2-1 defeat at Squires Gate, and boss Stewart Airdrie is eager to return to action with his side not having played at home in the league since October 31st.

Money on the gate and behind the bar is the lifeblood of non-league clubs, and Airdrie said: “It’s been really frustrating.

“But we went down to the ground on Monday to have a look, and hopefully it will be okay.

“There may be rain before the weekend, but hopefully we can get away with it this week.

“The bills need paying and we’ve not had a home league game since the end of October.

“We could do with a good turnout tomorrow – Northwich normally bring a good following, so fingers crossed we’ll get a few down.”

The problem with a significant number of postponements is fitting all the rescheduled fixtures into a season which the North West Counties League are unwilling to extend.

Town have exactly half their fixtures – 21 games – to cram in before now and April 30th.

A league statement said: “Clubs are reminded that they have a responsibility to fulfil their fixtures by the end of season date (30th April) and the Fixture Secretary has been instructed to rearrange postponed fixtures starting mid-week during February.”

Airdrie is bemused that the league can’t play into May: “We’ve been told by the league that we have to finish our fixtures by April 30th – we’re more than happy to extend the season.

“But we’re going to end up playing Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Saturday.

“Fitting the games in isn’t the only issue either, trying to get players together when they work, and with injuries and so on, is hard work.

“Pitches will be firmer and you will get knocks as well.”

As it stands, Airdrie has no injury or suspension problems to worry about tomorrow, however: “We’re looking at a full squad to choose from.

“The lads are all rested up and ready to go.

“I’m hoping I can bring one or two more in as well, although we can’t look at players either at the moment as no-one can get games on!”

The goal for Town is to try and finish in the top six, which would be a remarkable turnaround having just staved off the drop last season: “Top six has got to to be the aim. After the start we had, and the players that have come in, that has to be a realistic aim.”