PREVIEW: Atherton Colls (H)

After a run of away games throughout November and December, four home matches come along at once, and each one of them provides the Rams with quite a tester.

The first one, at home to table topping Radcliffe on Boxing Day, was successfully negotiated in front of more than 500 spectators, and a deserved three points were garnered after the 2-1 victory.

Hot on the heels of that one comes the arrival of third placed Atherton Collieries in what could equally be called a “derby game”.

Colls, in their second season in the league, have enjoyed a tremendous campaign so far, and have earned 40 points from their 20 games, notching up an impressive 48 goals, the joint highest in the division.

The Rams now find themselves in the play-off places, five points behind our visitors, but with a game in hand, so the incentive is there for a repeat of the Radcliffe result.

Hopefully, many of the neutrals who enjoyed what was a great advert for non-league football on Boxing Day, will return and another healthy attendance should be expected as the Rams continue to build on this impressive run of just one defeat in eighteen games.

With another side pushing for promotion, Leek Town, due in town on Saturday, followed by one of the biggest games in the club’s history – the FA Trophy 2nd round game at home to Weymouth – the week after, this is very much a defining three weeks in the history of Ramsbottom United.

These games are there to enjoy, and hopefully the visit of Atherton Colls will provide much to savour as a season that began in more hope than expectation has now been turned on it’s head.