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Darwen targeting cup final
DARWEN are hoping for a bumper crowd as they go gunning for North West Counties League silverware tomorrow – and their Division One Trophy semi-final first leg against Abbey Hey promises to be a cracker as they bid to end an 80-year jinx.
Despite going close on several occasions, the Salmoners have not been in a cup final since 1933 when they won the Lancashire Trophy during a golden spell of five trophies in three years.
And while the priority for boss Kenny Langford is promotion, he knows just how much getting to the final would mean.
“The league has always got to be priority but any manager would like to win a cup,” he said. “The cup takes the pressure off the week to week fixtures and they are good games.”
The Salmoners are currently top of the table, a point ahead of tomorrow’s rivals who have three games in hand, and while Langford has a steely determination to win through in the two-legged affair, he also wants his men to kick-start their form in the league as he bids to raise the club’s profile.
They have taken just one point from their last two games and Langford knows that mini-slump needs to be addressed if promotion is to be gained.
“The league brings in the crowds and the higher league you play in, the better attraction it is for players wanting to come to the club,” he said. “As you progress through the leagues, the crowds increase and the revenue increases too.
“Ask any manager at the start of the season what they would prefer, and I would put my money on their answer being the same as mine, it has to be the league.”
Elsewhere, Chorley have slipped into mid-table in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division but are not out of the play-off picture yet ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with lowly Matlock Town, while in the First Division North Ramsbottom and Clitheroe are both right in the promotion shake-up.
The Rams are third and make the trip to Salford, while Paul Moore’s Clitheroe are fifth on the same points as their local rivals. They cross the Pennines for their game with Wakefield at Belle Vue – home of Super League side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Padiham are on top of the North West Counties League Premier Division and Steve Wilkes’ men are on the road to Staffordshire as they look to cement their spot at the summit.
The Storks go to Norton United, while high-flying Barnoldswick Town welcome Wigan Robin Park to the Silentnight Stadium.
Colne are ninth and head to Glossop North End, while Bacup Borough entertain Maine Road.
In the First Division Nelson welcome Irlam to Victoria Park.