Christmas points could be so crucial to Chorley’s National League survival

Courtney Meppen-Walter is one of a number of players within Chorley's camp struggling with illness
Courtney Meppen-Walter is one of a number of players within Chorley's camp struggling with illness

Jamie Vermiglio accepts his Chorley team are entering a crucial stage of the season as they bid to stave off the threat of relegation.

The Magpies boss would not go as far as to suggest that the next couple of weeks are ‘make or break’ for his men in the National League.

But he concedes the team’s fortunes over the Christmas period could go a long way to deciding their fate at the end of the campaign.

With five games to play over the next fortnight – including this weekend’s visit of Dover Athletic to Victory Park – Chorley have a great opportunity to haul themselves off the bottom and out of the drop zone completely.

But a poor festive period could see them plunge deeper and further into the relegation mire.

“The Christmas period is a really good opportunity for us,” said Vermiglio, who watched his team bow out of the FA 
Trophy on penalties to NPL Premier Division side Matlock Town in midweek .

“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s make or break, but we are playing five games in such a short space of time and after those five games, we could be sitting outside of the relegation zone.

“But on the other hand, we could be buried deeper at the bottom. It’s a tough period for us but it’s one the lads look forward to. I think anybody outside of football look at the Christmas period and say, ‘Oh no, you have got a game then, you’ve got a game on Boxing Day’.

“But I know when I was a player, I used to love the 
Christmas games.

“I used to look at it as as a great opportunity to get a lot of points on the board in such a short space of time.

“Hopefully we can do that over the next few games.”

This weekend’s game could not be any bigger for the 
Magpies, especially as they then travel to fellow strugglers 
Wrexham on Boxing Day.

Dover are only nine points clear of the drop zone themselves and are currently in the middle of a poor run of form which has seen them fail to win in their previous five games in all competitions.

“Dover’s form has not been great – they have not won since the middle of November,” said Vermiglio. “We drew at their place , which is a tough place to go. They now come to our place and we’ll be confident and giving it a good go.”

Vermiglio has spoken in recent weeks about his squad having to cope with an outbreak of illness and he admits a number of players are still struggling with their health.

He said: “I will be having conversations with Andy Teague, Alex Newby, Matty Urwin, Matt Challoner, Courtney Meppen-Walter, Josh O’Keefe, Jake Cottrell about how they are feeling.”

Elsewhere in the division, AFC Fylde welcome Yeovil Town to Mill Farm this weekend. In the National League North, Southport are away to Blyth Spartans.