DEREK GOULDING hopes the visit of high-flying Darlington will inspire his Burscough players this weekend as he looks to lead his side up the Evo-Stik First Division North table.
Darlington, fourth in the standings, visit Victoria Park, on Saturday, and are expected to bring a hefty away following with them.
The Linnets, who recorded a morale-boosting 3-2 win at Northwich Victoria in their last league game, sit 14th, but Goulding believes the presence of a big crowd will lift his own players, even if they are not all supporting Burscough.
Goulding said: “It is a big game for us, and it should be a good atmosphere too.
“They have great backing, and hopefully they will bring a good few with them on Saturday to boost our gate.
“When you play in front of a big crowd at this level, even if it is a crowd that is against you, it can give you a lift. I'm sure most players would rather play in front of 500 than 50.
“I think Darlington are going to get better and better as this season goes on. The backing they have is fantastic, and now they have found their feet in this league, I think they will be the team to beat.
“We have got confidence though, we've had a good result last week, and we know how important a good win will be. We can go into the top half if results go our way, which would be a big boost.”
Goulding has doubts over the fitness of John Connolly and Paul Williams, but has been enthused by the form of full back James Short, who was their matchwinner against Northwich with a 35-yard wonder-strike.
“He's done really well for us,” Goulding said. “His goal was right out of the top drawer.
“He's confident enough to try it, and he's been rewarded. If you don't buy a ticket, you don't win the raffle. It was a long way out, but it flew in.
“It was a good performance by us. We deserved the win.”