IAN LONG has not given up hope that Alvechurch could be promoted – even if they miss out on the league title.
The Church boss admits table-toppers Hereford are huge favourites to win the Midland League Premier Division crown after the Bulls claimed a 2-1 win at Lye Meadow last week.
Alvechurch missed a NINTH penalty of the season as Jordan Nadat’s late spot kick was saved by Bulls keeper Martin Horsell.
With Hereford crushing basement side Continental Star 5-1 on Wednesday night, they have a seven-point advantage, although they have played one more game than Long’s men.
But there is a suggestion that second place could open a door to promotion to the Southern League.
Rumours always abound at this stage of the season but a scenario in which not enough champion clubs from the feeder leagues can go up could result in second placed teams vying for a promoted spot.
Long said: “There are rumours that the second placed side could go up. It’s nothing definite but it gives us hope.
“A couple of sides in other leagues have failed the ground grading so potentially that could be an opening for us.
“It makes it even more important we finish second and amass as many points as possible in our final six games. Even if it means some sort of play-offs, I would fancy our chances.”
Alvechurch bounced back from the Hereford disappointment by lifting the Worcestershire Senior Urn on Wednesday night.
Goals from Mark Smith, Nick Wright and Nadat sealed a 3-0 win against Bromsgrove Sporting in the final at Evesham United.
But the priority remains the league and tomorrow (Saturday) Alvechurch face the team immediately behind them in the table, with a trip to Walsall-based Sporting Khalsa.
The sides still have to play each other home and away.
“Sporting are a very good side and we need to be on our top form when we play them,” said Long.
“Winning some silverware will give everybody a lift, but, for me, the league is always the priority. The performance was good, we probably controlled the game, especially after getting the second goal.”
Defender Andy Parsons, who missed the final through illness, should be fit to face Khalsa, while Sam Williams (rested) and James Spray (cup-tied) also come back into the fray.
Leigh Downing, however, remains a doubt with an ankle injury.