Every so often, Mark Ross will pinch himself just to check the events of the previous four years have really happened.
s one of Garry Flitcroft’s very first signings when he took over the reins at Victory Park in the summer of 2010, Ross has been instrumental in the Magpies’ rise from the NPL First Division North to the higher echelons of the Conference North.
Having played under Flitcroft at Leigh Genesis, Ross was persuaded by the former Blackburn Rovers skipper to join his Chorley revolution.
Ross admits he had reservations about leaving the Leythers at the time but his decision to continue his association with Flitcroft – and his assistant Matt Jansen – has proven to be a master stroke.
“It’s fantastic how it’s all worked out,” said Ross.
“I initially played for Leigh RMI – as they were known back then – from the age of about 16-years-old.
“I went over to America for a few years on a football scholarship at the age of 18.
“But I came back and went back to Leigh .
“To be honest, I did not know a lot about what was going on at Leigh after being away for so long.
“I knew that Garry had taken over, so I started the season there under him and he’s ended up taking me everywhere with him.
“I like to think that is a good thing. He obviously sees something in me that he likes.
“I was happy at Leigh and I would have been happy to stay.
“But the manager said it was really important we moved to Chorley.
“There was me, Dale Whitham and Jack Dorney who went to Chorley from Leigh.
“Garry told us big things were going to be happening at Chorley...there were going to be big crowds and the club was going places.
“How true it’s been. The first season we got promoted and last season winning the league was just unbelievable.”
Ross, who can also play at centre-half, admits he owes Flitcroft and Jansen a debt of gratitude for what they have done for him.
“They gave me a chance,” he said. “I have learned so much from them.
“When you consider what they have done in their playing careers, when they speak you listen.
“We will be training and there will be a bit of banter flying about, but then Matt will just stop and tell us about the time he played at the Nou Camp.
“We all just look at each other and think, ‘Crikey’.”
A crowd of more than 2,000 is expected to watch Ross and his team-mates in action this weekend in a huge local derby.
The Magpies face neighbours Bamber Bridge in the FA Cup third round of qualifying at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Saturday.
“I love playing in big games. The bigger the game, the better,” said Ross.