SKELMERSDALE UNITED manager Tommy Lawson admits he has never faced such hard selection problems in his entire managerial career.
The United boss has overseen a terrific start to the season with Skem, boasting a 100% record in the league and progress in two cup competitions.
On Tuesday night, Lawson’s side made it seven wins from seven in the Evo-Stik First Division North with a 2-0 victory over top-of-the-table Mossley.
Skem are just four points off Mossley now and have four games in hand over the Ashton-under-Lyne side.
This weekend, United welcome old rivals Curzon Ashton to the West Lancashire College Stadium with Lawson relishing yet another clash with a side who he expects to challenging for promotion.
Lawson is expected to stick with the side that defeated Mossley but the manager says leaving players out of the matchday squad has never been as hard.
“You would not believe it,” said Lawson.
“In my entire time as a manager, this is the toughest I have ever had it.
“Some of the decisions I have had to make have been really, really difficult because I haven’t just got, say, 15 capable players in the squad but 22.
“Choosing a team is a real dilemma.
“This group of players are so talented and leaving lads out is very hard.
“But if you are going to challenge then you need a certain calibre of player available to you in the squad.”
On Saturday’s home game with Curzon, Lawson added: “These are the games, even at this early stage, that will be classed a ‘six pointers’.
“Curzon will be there or thereabouts because everyone knows the quality players they have.
“And New Mills are doing particularly well and that is going to be a challenge for us.
“But that is what it is all about, testing yourself against the other top sides.”
Two goals in a minute from Anthony Hickey and Paul Woolcott did the damage for Skem in midweek but Lawson says his side were dangerous for the entire game.
“On Tuesday night I thought we were relentless,” declared Lawson.
“We didn’t give them a minute and sometimes you can win a game with nine men playing well, but every single one of the lads put a shift in.”