Burscough manager Paul Bowes has expressed his delight after his side exceeded expectations in the first half of the season which has saw them move to fifth, five points off of the play-off position.
The Linnets face Pilkington in the next round of the FA Vase, a competition that the Burscough boss has set his sights on.
Bowes officially became first-team manager for the win over Lower Breck after taking charge initially for the draw with Squires Gate before leading them on an 11 game unbeaten run.
Recent performances have saw it stretch to just two defeats in their last 15 as their pre-season expectations have been turned on their head, for the right reasons.
Linnets have quietly rose up the table with Bowes creating a stubborn outfit, clinical at the right end of the pitch.
They were dealt a blow at the end of last month as Josh Quarless left for Northern Premier League West side City of Liverpool, whilst the departure initially hampered Burscough, he has praised his players for stepping up.
As a result, they have picked up four points out of a possible six, Bowes analysed: “We done well against Northwich, played well, the performances just dipped, against Prestwich I know the conditions didn’t help but it was probably the worst we played all season.
“I think we could’ve won that game [against Avro] we had chances but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. But Charnock [Richard], it all came together, Declan Daniels back on the scoresheet, Chrissy Lomax, we looked solid can’t fault them we played well.
“We only lost two in 14/15 games, a couple of draws, a lot of wins. It shows the group of lads, we chopped and changed the team as well, lads missing, lads are just working hard to fill in for each other.
“[We’ve] got full-backs playing centre mid, full-backs playing upfront, centre-halves playing centre mid but it’s working, shows the group of lads we’ve got they all want to win.
“Josh [Quarless] was a big player for us in the number 10, we’ve changed slightly, couple of different lads playing a different way we’ve just got to get the team to fit around the lads we’ve got.
“I’m happy with our squad at the moment, a couple of the lads have gone ‘okay, Josh has gone, a big player gone, I’ll step up, I’ll be the big player’ Dec Daniels being one of them he’s a big player for us and he’s going to show that in the second of half the season how good he is.
“I said a couple of weeks ago he was getting slightly overshadowed by Josh because how had Dec was working but Josh was getting the goals but I think it’ll start showing now and Dec will start getting more goals for us.
“We’re looking up, I don’t know whether the size of our squad big enough to mount a challenge later on in the season, that’s down to the lads to prove me wrong and prove everyone else wrong.
“I think it’s just a bit more stability with the players, a professionalism around the club it’s gone a long way and the lads have reacted to it, it’s looking good.
“The feeling around the club has been brilliant, the attitude, the couple we’ve brought in the likes of George Lomax – who is experienced at this level – it’s better for the lads who haven’t played but then we’ve had a couple of diamonds Tom Williams – who come in off the back of not for playing – he’s been brilliant in the last four games.
“Young Nathan Salisbury, he’s quality, he’s going to be a massive player for us towards the end of this season and next year but boss group of lads, can’t fault any of them.
“The games where we have had bad games Irlam and Prestwich we’ve still had chances but can’t fault them for losing one game, it happens at this level.
“The objective for us is to finish as high as we can. When I was offered the job, we were looking over our shoulders and get into the top 10, the objective now has changed for the club, top five would be brilliant.
“It would show how far we’ve come mixing with Avro, Wythenshawe, Skem with the budgets they’ve got we’re punching above our weight and we’re still in the [FA] Vase, I’d like a good run, Pilkington on Saturday will be difficult but I think our lads are more than capable of putting up a performance.
“If we can try and do a couple of rounds in the Vase, try and stay in the top five if possible that’s a great season for us and something to build on next year.”