Chorley captain Scott Leather believes history can repeat itself and his team can regain promotion to the National League as a part-time club.
By Steven Oldham
Chorley ready to compete at the top
The 29-year-old was part of the side that won the 2018-19 National League North playoffs after narrowly missing out on the title to Stockport County.
One relegation and two abandoned seasons later, Chorley once again moved into the playoff positions last weekend with a 2-0 win at Blyth Spartans.
Now the club’s longest serving player having arrived at Victory Park five years ago, Leather took the armband last season following Andy Teague's departure.
With the club on a good run and unbeaten in five games, he believes there’s no reason why Jamie Vermiglio’s side can’t contend with the division’s full-time outfits.
He said: “I think we can beat any other team on our day to be honest. We just need to keep that consistency and belief. The league gets harder and harder every year - there’s more money involved and more teams going full time each season.
“I think for us, as a part time team, if you make the playoffs you’ve done well, and if you get promoted you’ve done even better. That’s the main aim every season - to get promoted.”
FA Cup success and disappointment
Centre back Leather led the The Magpies on a memorable FA Cup run last season, as the side progressed to the fourth round. It took Premier League opposition to knock them out in the shape of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Having taken the scalps of Derby County, Peterborough United and Wigan Athletic last season, it’s understandable that this year’s exit in the second qualifying round has come as a bit of a shock.
Chorley were taken to a replay by Southport after a 2-2 draw, and lost the second game 1-0 to the National League North’s bottom club.
Despite the loss of another potential money-spinning cup run, Leather wants his team to use their lack of Cup games to their advantage.
“We had a good FA Cup run last season, so it was an honour to represent the team as captain. There was no hesitation on my part to take the role. It’s probably my experience which made the boss ask me.
“It was obviously disappointing to be put out of the Cup, but hopefully we can now go on a league run instead.
“The squad has changed a lot in the last couple of years. We’ve got a good dressing room. We’re all good mates, which will help on the pitch.
“The experienced players like me, Matt Urwin and Adam Blakeman have all won promotion from this league so that helps the younger players. We can tell them how good it was and that gives the lads real belief. There are young players there who have the potential to go back up the leagues,” he said.
Chorley look to extend their unbeaten run this weekend against Darlington.