Salford City boss Bernard Morley insists his second-placed side are prepared for a war in their title-contenders battle at Ashton United on Saturday.
Just three points divide the Northern Premier sides with both in a fine vein of form winning four of their last five league games.
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— Ashton United FC (@AshtonUnitedFC) January 15, 2016
In that run, the Ammies have scored 17 goals – including four against Skelmersdale last Saturday – but Ashton themselves have managed 15, and geared up with a 6-0 trouncing of Ramsbottom on Tuesday night.
“A war,” was Salford City co-manager Bernard Morley’s simple response when asked what he expected from the clash.
“It’s a derby, they’re right behind us, we go to their place and they’re very good at home; they work hard and they’re flying”, he added.
“They’re doing really well and if they beat us on Saturday they’re back in it and they’ll think they can still win it.
“But we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and work hard.”
Salford have only lost once on their travels in 13 league matches this campaign, winning an impressive 11 of those.
They’ll be hoping to extend that record at Hurst Cross and keep pace with league leaders Blyth Spartans whom they trail by four points, albeit with a game in hand.
Aiding those ambitions could be loan signing John Johnston, who impressed with two goals on his home debut against Skelmersdale – the first after just four minutes.
“Everything that was said about what he could do, he’s come in and done it in the space of 20 minutes,” said Morley.
“His quality on the ball was good and the way he dropped his shoulder: he’s obviously a great player and we just hope he can continue that form.”
Meanwhile Ashton aim to continue their own promotion push with their only recent setback a disappointing 5-2 defeat at Workington last Saturday.
That ended a run of eight wins on the bounce, but the Robins were quickly back on song in Tuesday night’s convincing display.
As a result Steve Halford and Paul Phillips’ side – who have issued a call for support to ‘outshout the Ammies’ – have the confidence to outscore them too.
A large crowd is expected for the derby at Hurst Cross aside BBC TV crew who are following Salford to compile footage for a second documentary series about the Class of ‘92s ownership of the club.
Image courtesy of Salford City via YouTube, with thanks.