NANTWICH Town warmed up for their showdown with FC United of Manchester with a convincing victory over Bacup on Saturday.
The Dabbers kept their minds off the clash with moneybags Division One leaders United long enough to see off the challenge of a hardworking Bacup side.
First-half goals from Andy Bott and Paul Taylor were enough to do the job. Now Steve Davis and his men can turn their attention to Saturday's match at Jackson Avenue.
Davis said: 'It was a solid performance against a very competitive side. Bacup remained committed throughout and we had to compete well to secure the win.
'We could have had more goals. We hit the woodwork and their keeper made several good saves. But we are high on confidence at the moment.
'The win sets us up nicely for a massive game on Saturday. It is the biggest fixture of the season for us.
There should be a good crowd to watch an entertaining game. I hope local people can come down and support us.'
Midfielder Adam Beasley was suspended for the Bacup game, while forward Matt Blake (knee injury) was ruled out. League secretary Geoff Wilkinson presented Rob Hackney with his Goalkeeper of the Month award for January before the start.
The Dabbers forced the early pace and Phil Parkinson, Stuart Schueber and Bott all had close-range shots blocked.
Mark Fitton's 25-yarder beat keeper Billy Carrington but flew inches over the bar, before Parkinson had a header cleared off the line. Striker Andy Kinsey shaved a post with a low drive.
The breakthrough was more than deserved, and Nantwich got it in the 34th minute. A scramble in the Bacup box was ended when Bott hit his 22nd goal of the season on the turn.
On the stroke of half-time Gyorgy Kiss delivered an inviting ball into the box, and full-back Taylor drove home his second of the season, right-footed from 12 yards out.
Town dominated the second half, but failed to find the net again. They survived a scare after a rare Bacup attack in the 74th minute, when sub striker Stuart Shepherd's shot crept just over the angle of post and bar.
Two minutes later Kinsey rattled the Borough bar with a stunning volley, but there was to be no further impact on the scoreline as the Dabbers cruised home.
Tickets for Nantwich's all-ticket clash with FC United of Manchester, on Saturday (3pm), are on sale at Crewe Alex, FP Sports at Pillory Street and Piccadilly Box Office, Manchester, priced £7 adults, £5 senior citizens and £3 U16s.
Nantwich Town are looking to recruit high quality U11 and U12 youngsters to boost their youth ranks. Call Steve Davis on 07984 089189 for details.