Swallownest cling to survival hopes ahead of Parkgate clash

Swallownest (blue shirts) and Parkgate in action earlier this seasonSwallownest (blue shirts) and Parkgate in action earlier this season
Swallownest (blue shirts) and Parkgate in action earlier this season
​SWALLOWNEST go into Saturday’s local derby against table-toppers Parkgate fighting for their lives in the Northern Counties East League.

Promoted to Step 6 of the fooball pyramid seven years ago, Swall are danger of dropping back down again and stand nine points from safety in Division One with only 12 games to play.

Manager Jamie Housley took over the reins in November and has overseen two wins from nine matches, enough to lift the team off bottom spot.

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And although he expects more bumps in the road between now and May, he insists survival is still do-able.

Swallownest manager Jamie HousleySwallownest manager Jamie Housley
Swallownest manager Jamie Housley

​"It has been challenging,” he said. “We are not far off squad wise but we are doing a pre-season halfway through a season and in a bad league position. It’s not ideal but we are getting there slowly.

“Even Louise (Pink), the chairlady, and the committee have said they have seen improvements in performances, which is good to hear. We have had two wins but we could certainly do with more.”

He added: “When I went in for the interview for the manager’s position, staying up was the plan. It was about looking at games where we could get the points but even then it was still touch and go and we were relying on a few other results.

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“Survival is still the aim. I think it’s possible but we have seven or eight games coming up against sides in the top half so it doesn’t get any easier.”

Parkgate boss Scott MasonParkgate boss Scott Mason
Parkgate boss Scott Mason

Swall were spared relegation last season due to league re-organisation but cannot bank on the same this time.

Added Housley: “With the number of teams at the minute, they will definitely let one go. I have heard rumours others may be pulled out but we are not thinking about that. As long as we finish outside the bottom three then that’s mission accomplished.”

Parkgate, on the other hand, head to the ‘Swall Siro’ on an eight-match winning streak but are taking nothing for granted.

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“It’s another big game, a local derby,” said manager Scott Mason. “It’s never easy at Swallownest. The pitch isn’t easy and Jamie is a good lad. We played them in a friendly in December and you can see what he is trying to do there. He has brought some capable lads in so we are ready for a hard game.”

Kick-off is 3pm.

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