ALFRETON Town finally return to league action on Saturday when they undertake the longest trip of the season to Workington.
Due to postponements and their FA Trophy run, the Reds have not played in the league for 29 days, ironically since they beat Workington 2-0 at home on January 11.
Since then, they have been knocked off the top of the division and now find themselves eight points behind the league leaders Nuneaton Town, but with a massive eight games in hand.
After exiting the FA Trophy , manager Nicky Law has asked his players to show him how much it means to them to win the Blue Square Bet North title.
He said: “We go into Saturday now with another tough game going to Workington.
“Nuneaton are now eight points ahead of us, but if we win five of our games in hand we go seven points clear.
“It is there, it is there for the lads in the dressing room, but I will be asking them how bad do you want it? Go and show people how bad you want it.
“I know it has wrenched my guts out tonight to have to take that [defeat] but that may be the difference, I don’t know if everyone else has got that.”
Law also spelled out how much winning the title means to him.
He added: “If someone had said you can finish top of the league or have a Wembley final, what would it be? I would take top of the league without a doubt. That is the ultimate goal for us.
“This is my fourth year now. We took it hard the first year and learned about the league and then spent two years building.
“If we had kept Kyle McFadzean and Aden Flint it would all have been over by now, we would have romped it and it would all have been over.
“But we didn’t [keep them] and it has been good business for the club. It will make it a little bit more difficult for the club but we still think we can do it and it is an opportunity for someone else to come in and show what they can do. That has been our goal for three years now and it still is our goal.
“It is not to be the Trophy, it would have been nice and I would have taken another game and still cost us another league game.
“For me personally and the chairman and the supporters the ultimate aim for this season is to get promotion.
“I am looking to do [bring in] a goalkeeper this week if I can but it is proving difficult. I am looking in other areas if I am honest. Maybe I am looking for something a little bit different up front. I have got a lot of effort and pace and desire but I might just need someone who can get hold of the ball like Connor did for them [Mansfield]. He is quality and the difference.
Liam [Hearn] has been out four or five weeks and played two games in a short space of time. But I do believe if we had a striker who could maybe get hold of the ball it would relieve the pressure on the team a lot more.
“They are not easy to find and I have to make sure that although I do want to increase the squad, which we have to with the games coming up, we have to make sure whoever comes in is going to improve the squad.”
Garner joins on loan
Meanwhile, Law has strengthened his squad still further with the signing of Grimsby Town defender Scott Garner on loan until the end of the season.
Garner, 21, is a former Ilkeston Town player and Mansfield Town where he won one Blue Square Bet Premier Division player of the month award. He has made 11 appearances for Grimsby this season after moving from Field Mill in the summer.
He becomes the third defender to come into the Impact Arena in a week following the signings of Theo Streete, 23, from Solihull Moors for an undisclosed fee and Kallum Keane, 19, following his release from Derby County.
Law will be setting his sights on a bringing in another goalkeeper after Sheffield Wednesday chose to recall Richard O’Donnell from a month’s loan deal only four days into it last week.
And with Paddy Gamble unavailable with personal issues, Law was thankful to Ross Turner for stepping admirably into the breach for both the Mansfield games despite carrying an injury himself.
Following his sending off at Mansfield in the FA Trophy third round tie last Saturday, Darren Stride will be suspended for one game and will miss the home league clash with Solihull Moors on Saturday, February 19.
Next Tuesday the Reds are at home to Blyth Spartans in the league, kick-off is 7.45pm.