Crunch time for promotion- chasing Chorley

Credit: Josh Vosper, Chorley FC

For everyone associated with Chorley FC, the National League North table makes pleasant viewing.

Jamie Vermiglio’s men sit top of the table, with their fate in their own hands heading into the last seven games of the season.

A 2-0 win away at Boston United last time out saw The Magpies extend their lead at the summit to four points, ahead of Stockport County who have a game in hand.

Assistant manager Andy Preece joined the coaching staff at Victory Park during pre-season, alongside Vermiglio and Jonathan Smith.

The ex-Bury and Blackpool player said that top of the pile is the best place to be ahead of seven huge games for the club.

Andy Preece (left): Credit, Chorley FC

“At this stage of the season, it’s great to be at the top,” said Preece. “It’s a great position to be in but the thing with us is we’ve been there all season.

“We don’t feel like there’s any pressure because the expectation has never been on us, we’ve handled top position for so long.

“Even when we got caught or had a poor run, we came back again and you wouldn’t swap places with any other team.”

There are big-name clubs that catch the eye when you scan through the league table such as Stockport, York and Chester, but Preece and everyone at the club didn’t set the bar low for the players during pre-season.

“Our target was to win the league, the manager made that clear,” he insisted.

“Whether we could’ve imagined to be four points clear with seven games to go, probably not, but the players have been unbelievable.

“We’ve worked so hard to get ourselves into this position and it has been a fantastic achievement, considering we’re not one of the big, full-time teams in this league.

“We don’t train three times a week so it has been a great journey but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

It is very much ‘one at a time’ as far as The Magpies are concerned, but they do entertain second placed Stockport at home on April 20th.

The highly anticipated game will be an all-ticket affair, with the fixture being a potential title-decider.

Preece knows it is crucial to not look too far in advance, but also admitted it is hard to ignore that game with a promotion on the cards that would mean so much for a club like Chorley.

“That game will have no importance if we lose the next four games, so you can only go by the next game.

“You are always going to look ahead to games like Stockport, but the focus has to be on the next one and if you can take care of that you’re going to be in a great position.

“It’d be incredible to go up, for all the hard work everyone’s put in behind the scenes right from the top to the bottom.

“It’s such a strong family club and it’s all done with hard work rather than massive finances so it’d be a great reward for everybody.

“Hopefully we can go and finish the job off.”

Next up for Chorley is a home clash against 16th placed Leamington, this coming Saturday at 3pm.