MIDDLEWICH Town boss Terry Murphy says his side have a mountain to climb if they want to catch Mid Cheshire League leaders Barnton - but if anybody can do it, they can, writes TOM EVANS.
Saturday's Les Miranda-inspired 4-1 victory at table-propping Cheadle Heath elevated Town to second, 10 points behind Barnton with a game in hand.
With a clash between the two still to come, Murphy's men could narrow the gap to four points.
'Somebody else has to beat them,' admitted Murphy. 'It's out of our hands.
'But they've got a lot on their plate at the moment.'
Should Barnton's various cup exploits distract them from wrapping up the title, Town look ready to pounce.
Murphy said they could have notched double figures on Saturday were it not for the heroics of the Cheadle Heath keeper.
'I think his name's Rouse,' he said. 'He did look a very good keeper. If I could have got his phone number, I would have signed him!'
Despite Cheadle's lowly position, Murphy was pleased with the win.
He said: 'The conditions weren't great. We played very well and could have had 10.'
Overall, Murphy is delighted with the progress his team has made in a season which has seen a young squad gain much-needed experience.
Had they not dropped four points to the bottom two clubs earlier in the season, Murphy believes they would be in an even better position.
'We've come on leaps and bounds,' he said. 'The team's younger and better. It's a bit of experience we lack.'
The arrival of Miranda has strengthened Murphy's squad further. And with David Dale, Ryan Broadhead, Matty Hitchen and Mark Tomlinson all due to return to the side, the boss has a nice dilemma on his hands.
He said: 'Things are looking good - but Barnton will take a bit of catching.'