PREVIEW | Southport V Chorley | New Years Day

PREVIEW | Southport V Chorley | New Years Day

There won’t be many people associated with Southport FC shedding a tear at the passing of 2017.

A relegation, four managers, and almost 70 players are symbolic of what has been a turbulent year on and off the pitch.

Now the Sandgrounders are languishing in the lower reaches of the National League North, in desperate need of a first win in almost four months to boost their hopes of avoiding back to back relegations.

Their first opposition of 2018 will be Chorley, against whom they gained a credible point away from home on Boxing Day.

For a struggling defence to claim a clean sheet against a side who are firmly in the race for the play-offs shows promise.

More cause for optimism comes with the signing of full-back Clive Smith a signing in an area that has been a problem for the Sandgrounders all season.

The visitors on New Year’s Day have a host of familiar faces in their ranks.

Jason Walker will always be fondly remembered for his goal scoring exploits that kept Southport in the Conference in 2014 – Matt Challoner was also in that team, and the pair are reunited at Victoria Park.

The Magpies also have Adam Blakeman, Will Beesley and Josh O’Keefe in their squad, all of whom have played for Southport in non-league’s premier division.

At the end of a torturous year, the Sandgrounders will hope that 2018 sets the platform for a return to that level.

By Christy Byrne

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