Town head into critical week as games pile up

DEFIANT boss Paul Burton has shrugged off a "ridiculous" run-in of five games in ten days and insists he's "very hopeful" this will be the week when Northallerton Town are at long last promoted. Following last night's trip to South Shields, Town finish with four mightily tough home games in eight days, starting with Alnwick tomorrow (3pm), nearest pursuers Darlington RA on Bank Holiday Monday (11am), champions elect Consett on Wednesday (7.30pm) a

Burton is angry the season hasn't been extended by another week but knows Town need just nine points to mathematically guarantee promotion and is confident his Calvert Stadium troops can rise to this week's challenge.

"I'm very hopeful we can come through it and let's use it as an incentive," said Burton.

"I'm not very happy about it and I think it's ridiculous.

"I can see that the Northern League have got these fixtures to play but I'm pretty sure we could have finished later than the 22nd. Other teams are playing until the first week in May and when you look at the whole picture it's crazy really.

"But it's pointless complaining. The games will be coming thick and fast but we've got four home games to finish off the season so it's in our own hands.

"They've made it difficult for us but let's use that to make sure we get these points and, hand on heart, I don't think we'll need any more than 75 or 76 points.

"Penrith and RA have both got to play Crook while Penrith also have to play Consett. They have some difficult games left."

Town have already played three games this week as before last night's visit to South Shields they won 2-1 at Alnwick on Tuesday and drew 0-0 with promotion rivals Crook Town on Saturday.

A fit squad will be essential for Town to cope in the final week but while Ian Williams and Dave Goodchild are unavailable tomorrow, Burton has no worries that his squad will cope.

"We had 17 players on Saturday and that was with Craig Skelton away so we could have had 18," said Burton.

"I've got two missing this week with Ian Williams and Dave Goodchild which is a shame but we've got Craig Skelton back and we've got other players like Craig Winter who we can bring in.

"We should be OK."

On Saturday, Karl Charlton put a one on one chance wide and Carl Chillngworth put two chances over the 'bar as Town shaded the first half against Crook in abysmal conditions, including rain, sleet, wind and snow.

As the weather improved, a more end to end second half ensued, Crook looking dangerous with pacy duo Roy Allen and Danny Mellanby upfront but Town held on for a draw - enough to satisfy Burton.

"It was a difficult game but the most important thing was that we didn't lose as Crook needed to win to put themselves back in it," said Burton.

"I would have liked us to have won but it still kept the gap open to Crook."

Goals from Dane Wilson and Karl Charlton then saw off Alnwick on Tuesday meaning nine points would now mathematically guarantee Town promotion.

Burton feels just six more - taking Town to 76 points would suffice - but Burton doesn't want things getting hairy at the last minute and is calling on his players to beat Alnwick tomorrow and RA on Monday to definitely seal promotion.

"That would give us promotion as it would mean 79 points and that has got to be the aim," said Burton.

"I want us to win our next few games as I don't want to see it go down to the last game with Red Star with us needing to win or get a draw to go up. I want us to get it out of the way now."

Town also have a North Riding Senior Cup Final to look forward to against York City at the Kit Kat Crescent while on Monday, April 24, their seventh game in two weeks will be a Craven Cup semi-final against Penrith.

A cup double plus promotion remains on the cards but while hoping Town can win at least one of the cups Burton admits the champagne corks will be popping in style IF Town finally seal their place in Division One next week.

"It would be absolutely fantastic if we did it this week and promotion has always been the aim since we got the job," said Burton.

"When we got here it was a case of spending the first season and having a look - quite right too - and then having a real go in the second season which I felt we did when we finished joint fourth.

"We've now strengthened again and it's always been about promotion but with the final against York and hopefully a Craven Cup final to look forward to this really could be a very good year."Winter who we can bring in. We should be OK.”

On Saturday, Karl Charlton put a one on one chance wide and Carl Chillngworth put two chances over the ‘bar as Town shaded the first half against Crook in abysmal conditions, including rain, sleet, wind and snow.

As the weather improved, a more end to end second half-ensued, Crook looking dangerous with pacy duo Rory Allen and Danny Mellanby upfront but Town held on for a draw - enough to satisfy Burton.

“It was a difficult game but the most important thing was that we didn’t lose as Crook needed to win to put themselves back in it,” said Burton.

“I would have liked us to have won but it still kept the gap open to Crook.”

On Tuesday, Town then ????? at Alnwick meaning ???? points would now mathematically guarantee Town promotion.

Burton feels just ??? more - taking Town to 76 points would suffice - but Burton doesn’t want things getting hairy at the last minute and is calling on his players to beat Alnwick tomorrow and RA on Monday to definitely seal promotion.

“That would give us promotion as it would mean 79 points and that has got to be the aim,” said Burton.

“I want us to win our next few games as I don’t want to see it go down to the last game with Red Star with us needing to win or get a draw to go up.

“I want us to get it out of the way now.”

Town also have a North Riding Senior Cup Final to look forward to against York City at the Kit Kat Crescent while on Monday, April 24, their seventh game in two weeks will be a Craven Cup semi-final against Penrith.

A cup double plus promotion remains on the cards but while hoping Town can win at least one of the cups Burton admits the champagne corks will be popping in style IF Town finally seal their place in Division One next week.

“It would be absolutely fantastic if we did it this week and promotion has always been the aim since we got the job,” said Burton.

“When we got here it was a case of spending the first season and having a look - quite right too - and then have a real go in the second season which I felt we did when we finished joint fourth.

“We’ve now strengthened again and it’s always been about promotion but with the final against York and hopefully a Craven Cup final to look forward to this really could be a very good year.”