Longridge Town welcome Vickerstown to the Mike Riding Ground on Saturday, knowing the West Lancashire League Premier Division title race is well and truly alive.
Town’s 1-1 draw at Fulwood Amateurs on Saturday, coupled with Blackpool Wren Rovers’ 5-1 win at Crooklands Casuals has seen Town’s lead at the top reduced to two points.
Town are the only side to have beaten Wrens this season, prevailing 2-1 when the teams met on August 20.
That was Wrens’ only defeat of the season, since when they have gone 17 games undefeated.
It means that, with 10 matches of the season remaining, Town have 61 points from their 22 matches with Wrens on 59 and boasting a goal superior goal difference.
Consequently, Ashcroft’s message to his players is a simple one.
“Wrens won’t lose many games until the end of the season,” he acknowledged of Town’s title rivals.
“With the number of games we have to go, as we keep saying, all we can do is concentrate on ourselves and, if we win all of those games, we have, then we will be champions.”
The first of those matches is a rematch against Vickerstown with Town hoping to do the double following November’s 3-2 victory.
Their advantage going into the weekend could have only been one point but for Alex O’Rourke’s second-half equaliser after conceding the penalty which gave Fulwood the lead at half-time.
O’Rourke has impressed in the centre of defence during George Melling’s suspension with the manager praising his versatility.
“Alex came in as a defender but ended up playing in central midfielder,” Ashcroft said.
“He did very well in there and, when you have players who can play in different positions, then it doesn’t half help you out.”