Raunds Town have their fate firmly in their own hands as they target promotion to the ChromaSport United Counties League Premier Division.
James Le Masurier’s team have enjoyed an impressive run of form over the past couple of months with a seven-match unbeaten run, six of those being wins, giving them a five-point cushion over the other teams chasing second place in Division One.
With Pinchbeck United looking well set for the title, the Shopmates have been battling it out with a number of other clubs including local rivals Rushden & Higham United for the second automatic promotion place.
And with last weekend’s 2-1 win at Blackstones being coupled by the Lankies and Potton United drawing 4-4, a significant gap has now opened.
But Le Masurier insists no-one at Kiln Park is getting carried away, especially with more tough tests approaching.
“In seasons gone by I have seen us have unbeaten runs but when they have ended, we have never really been able to get back on track,” the Raunds boss said.
“But we have a stronger squad, it’s very competitive and such is the attitude and desire of the players in training, if I could pick 16 players to start every week I would.
“That’s a theme throughout the club though, both the first-team and the reserves are having good seasons and it is pleasing to see.
“We have had a good couple of months, we are unbeaten in seven matches and we have won six of them and we have beaten three of the top six in that spell so it has left us in a good position.
“It’s a cliche but you just have to try to win every and, at the moment, that’s what we have done after a slightly sticky patch.
“We have Lutterworth Town tomorrow (Saturday) and then Pinchbeck next weekend and if we come out of those with positive results then I think the other clubs will be thinking we have put ourselves in a strong position.
“Everything is positive but we don’t get carried away. We all know how quickly things can change. We just have to work even harder to keep this run going.”
The Lankies will hope to keep the pressure on Raunds when they entertain struggling Bugbrooke at Hayden Road this weekend.
Elsewhere, Stewarts & Lloyds and Thrapston Town both have home advantage tomorrow as they take on Buckingham Town and Olney Town respectively.
A huge day lies ahead for Irchester United and Burton Park Wanderers as they bid to reach the final of the NFA Junior Cup.
The in-form Romans have home advantage as they take on Peterborough League side Netherton United at Alfred Street.
Wanderers, however, are on the road for their semi-final as they make the short trip to Northants Combination Premier Division outfit Moulton.
The United Counties League Premier Division’s weekend action starts tonight (Friday) with a crucial match for Whitworth.
The Flourmen currently sit eight points above the relegation zone and make the trip to take on bottom club Oadby Town (7.45pm).
Desborough Town’s scheduled home fixture with Holbeach United tomorrow has now been switched to an away game after a fallen tree left the Waterworks Field pitch unplayable.
A statement from the club said: “Last Thursday a 60ft elm tree on the ground boundary above the stand came down in the gales and laid across the pitch as far as the penalty area.
“We immediately employed tree contractors to remove the tree, but with adverse weather conditions since, a large amount of the tree remains on the pitch, and there will be a considerable amount of remedial works needed to the pitch once this has been removed.”
This weekend’s tough clash at fourth-placed Holbeach is followed by another at third-placed Deeping Rangers on Tuesday night.
Wellingborough Town face another important game against a team below them in the this weekend.
The Doughboys were on the end of a 1-0 defeat at ON Chenecks last Saturday with the hosts moving above their opponents as a result.
Wellingborough remain a comfortable 10 points clear of the relegation zone but will look to end a run of eight matches without a win when they host third-from-bottom Sleaford Town at the Dog & Duck tomorrow in what will be Nathan Marsh’s first home game since taking charge following the resignation of previous boss Stuart Goosey.
Another team out of form at the moment are Rothwell Corinthians.
They are now without a win in six matches after they slipped to a 4-1 loss at Deeping Rangers last Saturday.
Corinthians’ season appears to be heading for a mid-table finish and they will be hoping to return to winning ways this weekend when they head across the county to take on Cogenhoe United.