PREVIEW: Runcorn Linnets (A)

After the disappointing – and unexpected – home defeat against Newcastle Town on Tuesday, this game really has the feel of a must-win contest.

Three home losses from the last four has severely put a dent in any possible automatic promotion hopes, so, in reality, it looks like the play-offs could be the only way to end the campaign on a successful note, although there are a number of other teams looking to pip us at the post.

Unusually, though, the Rams are now ahead of other contenders with regards to games played (that in itself is a miracle considering all the FA Trophy games we have had to fit in), and it’s now down to the last five games of the season, three against fellow-promotion hopefuls.

As we sit in 4th spot with 61 points from our 33 games, the hosts are one above us having played one game less, but with an extra point in the bag.

At home, Linnets have so far recorded ten wins, with just two league defeats, but it must be pointed out that since the arrival of Chris Willcock in early October, our only defeat away from the HWRS was that at AFC Fylde in the Trophy.

A continuation of that run will be essential against a Runcorn side that arrived in Ramsbottom in December and returned home victorious by 3 goals to 2 in a controversial game which saw two Rammy players dismissed.

So revenge should be in the air, and hopefully the Rammy supporters will be out in numbers to cheer on the lads, whose only absentee will be Ryan Ellison, serving the third of his four game ban.

This really is a big game for the team!