Injuries have hit Walsden C&FC’s season harder than most, but manager Dan Howley admits he is hoping his side can push on ahead of Saturday’s game against Chadderton Park.
The Todmorden side are second from bottom in the Rochdale Alliance Premier Division, belying last season, when they finished second and managed a cup double, capturing both the Chairman’s Cup and the President’s Cup.
They have managed only one win in the still nascent 2015/16 campaign, a hugely entertaining 8-6 victory against Sudden on November 7.
In part, Howley believes that a spate of injuries suffered by a series of key players has rocked his side, and with players returning every week, he has reason to be positive ahead of Saturday’s game against Park.
He said: “We’re much better than our position says we are. We won the cup double last year. We’ve gained players – we’ve only lost one. It’s just not coming together at the minute.
“The squad has had a lot of injuries. We’re missing our top scorer (Danny Brown) from last season, he’s been out for the last few weeks. At the start of the season, we had six missing, and we’ve still got two or three missing now.
“We’ve not had a settled team, that’s been the problem. We’ve had to change our back four every week. We had our centre-forward playing at centre-half against Sudden.
“We’re fairly strong for Saturday, we’ve just got a few missing. I’m hoping we can kick on from now, with a few players back.”
Howley’s confidence remains high, and he believes the opportunity is there for Walsden to climb the table.
While Walsden are currently nine points away from top spot, Falcon have played two games more than them, and lost 5-3 against FC Littleborough last week.
He added: “We’re always confident, we’re a good footballing side that just hasn’t been working.
“It’s still wide open, there’s not a team that is unbeaten in the league. If we win our games in hand, we’ll only be three or four points behind.”
Elsewhere, Todmorden Borough will be hoping to climb above Blackburn United in the East Lancashire League Second Division when they host Colne United.
It is the reverse of the last fixture played by both sides, when Borough visited United at the end of October.
Craig Milnes’s side will be looking for revenge after United won that match 2-0.
Fixtures - Rochdale Alliance Football League Premier Division: Chadderton Park 1st v Walsden C&FC (J. Cunningham), Falcon 1st v White Lion (T. Buckley), Rochdale Sacred Heart v Forthergill & Whittles 1st (S. Bond), Sudden v FC Littleborough (T. Andrews).
East Lancashire Football League Second Division: Blackburn United v Rosgrove Railway (M. Frankland), Peel Park v Prairie United (S. Smith-Mason), Todmorden Borough v Colne United (N. Stratton), Waddington FC v Barnoldswick Town (C. Parsons).