LEYLAND CC skipper Dave Makinson believes it is a crucial weekend for their Northern League aspirations as they have slipped down to fourth in the table.

The Fox Lane outfit have two matches against Barrow and Fleetwood, who occupy second and third positions, and it would help them close the gap on leaders Netherfield.

Makinson said: "All of the other three teams going for the league won so it was a frustrating weekend.

"It has made it more difficult so this is a massive weekend for us and it will allow us to see if we have a chance of winning the league.

"If we can get the maximum 30 points at the weekend and with (leaders) Blackpool not playing then we can close the gap to just three points behind them and we still have to play them.

"We have had a bit of a blip in the last couple of weeks as we were second but I think we are doing okay.

"We know that we need a bit more consistency."

Stalwart Makinson insists despite falling off the pace he would have been happy by their current situation.

"There were rule changes in the league which allowed you to have two overseas players and also pay as many as you wanted but we have Richardt Frenz as our overseas and that is it.

"If you had told me at the start of the season that we would be where we are at this stage then I would have taken it."

Meanwhile the ex-Lancashire ace Makinson was disappointed that the Red Rose county have decided to release ex-Leyland star Luis Reece.

He said: "Luis has hardly been given a chance since he was injured as he got 80 in his last game.

"I think he has been unlucky and is a very good player.

"He has shown he has the ability to play first class cricket and hopefully he will get a chance at another county and he will not be first one to do that."

Back to the local scene, Makinson has been impressed with one aspect of the club's performances and another to work on.

"Our bowling has been really good and I was looking a couple of weeks ago and we had four in the top 10 in the league's statistics," he said.

"Ross Bretherton has bowled really well and struggled with the bat while Will Jacques has impressed with the ball.

"The batting has been disappointing and our wicket has made it difficult.

"We have not applied ourselves as well as we could have."