Why should I watch..?

To see if Barnton can spring one of the biggest surprises of the season by beating the favourites to win the North West Counties League title.

The Villagers still have only one victory to their name in the Premier Division this season, although they have lost eight of their past nine games since prevailing at West Didsbury & Chorlton in November.

They had shown signs of promise during a spirited showing at Stockport County in the Cheshire FA Senior Cup before sharing the spoils with Maine Road.

However a 4-1 reverse at in-form Charnock Richard last weekend ended that revival.

Runcorn Linnets have won 10 successive matches, a run that has taken them 10 points clear at the table’s summit.

What they’ve said

“Nobody gives us a chance.

“Runcorn Linnets are flying, and one glance at the league table tells you why they’ll be expected to win.

“They’re a terrific side, but they’ll come up against a group of players desperate to record a big result – and the potential of this one doesn’t get any bigger for us.”

Steve Lloyd, Barnton manager

Numbers game

Barnton have conceded 13 goals in three previous league meetings with their Cheshire neighbours, including four in this season’s return

Man to keep an eye on

Rob Cooke

The Villagers will likely need their goalkeeper to play well if they’re to have any chance of stopping Michael Ellison’s rampant side.

He has yet to keep a clean-sheet this season, and so this would be a timely moment to end a wait for one.

Barnton team news

Steve Lloyd will be forced to make at least one change to a side that lost 4-1 at Charnock Richard last weekend with Jason McShane unavailable.

Ryan Malone and Brandon Moores are missing too, while defender Niall Ford has been released this week after making 25 starts for the Villagers.

Jordan Stafford and Chris Bandell return, while leading goal-scorer Chris Smith has been passed fit.

Form guide (past six in league)

Barnton L D L L L L

Runcorn Linnets W W W W W W

Previous meetings

Runcorn Linnets 4-0 Barnton (NWCFL Premier Division, December 23 2017)

Runcorn Linnets 5-2 Barnton (NWCFL Premier Division, October 25 2016)

Barnton 0-4 Runcorn Linnets (NWCFL Premier Division, September 5 2016)

Essential information

When Friday, February 2

Kick-off 7.45pm

Address Townfield, Townfield Lane, Barnton, Northwich CW8 4LH

Admission Adults £6, Concessions £4, Under 16s Free

Parking Limited at Memorial Hall next to ground entrance. Club advises spectators use Barnton Library on Townfield Lane