SIMON BURTON admits Runcorn Town’s title push has surprised even him, as his side look to keep themselves at the top of the North West Counties’ Premier Division.
Town’s dramatic 4-3 win at Colne on Saturday moved them above Bootle and Ramsbottom United, both of whom were in Challenge Cup action.
With just 11 league games remaining, Burton’s men are embroiled in a five-way fight for promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North.
And he confessed that their performance this season has surpassed all expectations.
Burton said: “At the start of the season if somebody would have said we would be where we are with 11 games to go, I would have snapped their hand off.
“And when we lost at home to Ramsbottom in January, we were 11 points behind them and I thought we were dead and buried.
“But credit to the lads, they have kept plugging away and climbing back up the league. We have a chance now, but we need to keep our focus and make sure our attitude is right, no complacency.”
Burton also believes the absence of any cup distractions may help his side in the title run-in. The likes of Ramsbottom, Bootle and Barnoldswick Town all have cup commitments to come, including the two-legged Challenge Cup semi-finals.
“In that way it has been a bit of a blessing to be out of it,” admitted Burton. “We are in a good position, putting pressure on all the sides around us.
“We did that on Saturday against Colne, and with teams having lots of cup games to fit in over the next few weeks, there is the chance that they will pick up injuries and drop points.
“But we can only do our job. We were a bit frustrated to concede three goals at Colne on Saturday, but we got the win, and we played well in the second half.”
Town face Colne again this weekend in the return league fixture, but will be without the suspended Scott Burton.
“Other than that we are at full health,” said Burton. “Which is vital at this stage.”