Skelmersdale United manager Paul McNally is under no illusions ahead of the inter-step playoff against Cinderford Town.
Skem have been waiting to learn their fate for a number of weeks but their destiny was sealed last weekend as it was confirmed that the Southern League – South side would stand in their way of returning to the Northern Premier League.
They finished as runners-up on the final day of the North West Counties after results swang their way in the build-up to their win over Lower Breck. Against a resilient Breck side, they managed to secure their spot as runners-up to book the date for April 30.
They face the trip to Gloucester on Saturday looking to overcome the odds and topple the hosts in order to restore their status in non-league step four for the first time since 2018.
“Tough either way. I think the distance we’re travelling factors we haven’t played for a few weeks, rustiness is going to come in,” McNally told Off The Park. “I feel they have all the advantage but it is what it is. We’ve been given an opportunity to go and play them, we’re going to try and take it with both hands.
“We’ve had a successful season regardless of the result but tomorrow could be the icing on the cake if we win, that’s what we intend to do. We’re going there to give them a game.
“If you win it you’re in the Evo-Stik (Northern Premier League West) fishing in a different pond for players. If you lose it we’re still in the counties, we’ve still got a good side and we can still attract players just maybe different types.
“It’s still a great opportunity, I think everyone will be looking on enviously and wishing they were in our position. Even though I feel personally we finished second, we should’ve been promoted automatically but we know the rules and we’ll go there fully prepared.
“They’re very much an unknown entity and they might say the same about us but our area is quite strong. It’ll probably be easier to find more information on us than them but we’ve done our homework, I’ve had a couple of scout reports, watched a few clips of them here and there. It’ll be a good game, a tough game, a very nervy. We’re aware of what we’ve got to do to get us across that line.”