Billy Paynter is expecting another intense battle with Stalybridge Celtic when they visit Runcorn Linnets on Saturday.
It will be the second meeting between the pair this season after Linnets knocked them out of the FA Cup. They had raced into a three-goal lead before the Greater Manchester side got back into it, thanks to two late goals.
James Kinsey’s side have been unbeaten since their cup exit and sit second in the Northern Premier League West.
Saturday presents a return to league action for Runcorn Linnets. It has been over a month since their impressive 4-2 win over Witton Albion with their run in the FA Cup and FA Trophy dominating September.
They have two games in hand over their domestic rivals and with the focus returning to the league, Paynter is looking for consistency.
“We’ve given the players time off, allowed them to do work in the gym and allowed players to recover from little niggles which has helped,” he said, speaking to Off The Park.
“The lads are raring to go, it’s been a big week to prepare for Stalybridge. I felt the game at Chorley, we finished the game really strong and second-half was some of the best football we’ve played all season.
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“I’ve said to the players to have more belief in their play because I believe in them so let’s need more consistency of it.
“We are building those blocks, it’s not going to be done over a short period, it will take time. As long as we’re consistent in what we want to do, we will get there.
“On the day Stalybridge were a very good side. We came out in the second-half and scored three quick goals but we took our foot off the gas and it showed their quality,” Paynter added on their meeting in August.
“They score goals, they scored two late on which made it nervy for us so I’m expecting a tough game. (James) Kinsey has them playing good football and I’m sure it’ll be a good game for a neutral.
They’d have taken positives from the way they finished the game.
“We have to shut it up at the back and stop leaking goals, in hindsight, when we go forward we are looking bright but can we be clinical and finish off teams?”