WITTON Albion host Mickleover Sports today bidding to avoid a third successive defeat.

A midweek loss at Lancaster, following a home reverse to Rushall last Saturday, leaves Carl Macauley's side seventh after an otherwise strong start to the campaign.

It remains tight at the Northern Premier League's Premier Division summit, with only seven points separating the top 10 clubs.

Witton fell to the lowly Pics last weekend having gone into the game as leaders, which shows what a tight competition it is.

"It kind of sets the tone of how tight the whole league is and how compact teams are," said Albion boss Macauley.

"We get a report on each team we play, but the Rushall side that faced us bore no resemblance to what we'd received because they'd signed five new players.

"That made a massive difference to them.

"The league table is going to keep changing over the next four weeks, and it's important we stay up there as much as we can."

Midfielder Tom Owens is in the mix to feature for Albion this afternoon.

Owens, influential from midfield in last season’s promotion-winning side, rejoined the club this week after a spell in Australia.

Witton fans on social media have hailed his signing since the news broke on Thursday.

"He covers more ground in 20 minutes than some you could name in 90," said Peter Scott on the Northwich Guardian's Facebook page.

John Evans added: "Welcome home Tom."

Stephen Lowe said: "Great to have him back."

Andrew Egerton chipped in with: "Great news good timing."

Paul Edward Johnson concluded: "We got our engine house back. Has been a massive loss, welcome back Tom."

Liverpudlian Owens joins up with Macauley for a third time, having previously played under him at Marine.

He first joined Witton in the latter half of the 2015-16 season.