By Chris Gibbs
We can’t kid ourselves any longer – we’re in a dogfight and the games are not about to get any easier.
A run of four successive away games provided a really disappointing tally of three points – that 2-1 win at Bootle last weekend – and though we now have three consecutive home games to come starting with Skelmersdale on Saturday it really doesn’t get any easier.
The game with Skelmersdale is critical and that’s as much for the matches that follow it. Clitheroe and champions elect Macclesfield come to Buckmaster Avenue for the following two Saturdays – our aggregate score in the reverse fixtures against those opponents doesn’t make for pretty reading: 1-10.
So, while you never say never which is very much the mantra that Robin works hard to instil into the players, reality does have a tendency to bite.
So what of Skelmersdale. On paper, you’d say it’s an eminently winnable game against an opponent only three points better off than us in the league table.
But don’t be fooled. Although their home form is abysmal – second only to Hanley in that respect – away from home they are an entirely different proposition having won eight from 14 on the road.
And one thing you don’t get with Skelmersdale is stalemate. They haven’t drawn any of their 29 league matches this season.
Saturday’s game will be the first opportunity most of our fans will get to see our new signings Joe Thompson, Luke Walsh and Maxwell Chimenes.
And it really is just as well that they have all slotted into the set up so well, as injuries are starting to take their toll.
Tommy Van der Laan could be out for a month after pulling a hamstring in the 3-1 defeat at Witton Albion on Tuesday while his brother Jack is close to a return to the first team. Jake Lovatt faces a while longer on the sidelines while his brother Callum should deputise for Tommy having done so off the bench on Tuesday.
With some tough games to come, the visit of Skelmersdale assumes even more importance, but we’ll need to be on top of our game to get a much needed win.
Come on ‘Castle!