Pic: Greig Bertram
CHORLEY’S defence is so mean it’s tempting to wonder if they’d bother helping an old lady cross the road.
After 14 league games, they boast nine clean sheets and have only conceded nine goals. Not bad considering their opening game was a 3-3 thriller with FC United and they conceded two goals to both Darlington and Altrincham.
It’s put Matt Jansen’s side among the early front runners in a mouth-watering National League North. So what’s the secret? Skipper, and defender, Andy Teague, said it’s simple – good players knowing their jobs and any team changes having very little impact.
“We’ve had some new personnel and experience come in,” Teague told The NLP. “Steve Jordan came from Fleetwood, Scotty Leather from Altrincham as well. We’re playing three at the back so, with Kieran Charnock, there are four of us fighting for those places. Whoever plays, it doesn’t seem to matter.
“I played the first game and got sent off. Kieran Charnock came in and because of all the clean sheets I couldn’t get back in. Then Steve Jordan got injured and I came back. But it doesn’t seem to affect us and we keep the same fluidity in the team.
“We played the formation at the end of last season and it worked well. We’ve carried it on to this year and it’s worked quite well. We’re playing wing backs so we look strong going forward. Then when we lose the ball, we get a good shape back and defend from the front. We’re a good unit.
“Everybody knows their job and the lads are taking notice, even if they’re not playing, so they’re ready when they do.
“As a defender, first and foremost, it’s our job to keep clean sheets. But to have nine in our first 15 games is a credit to the whole team.”
Having missed out on promotion in the final to Guiseley two years ago, last season was a disappointing one for the Magpies. They failed to mount another top-five challenge and eventually finished eight points adrift of the play-off places.
They are third in the league ahead of Saturday’s visit of Stockport, but Teague said they aren’t making a big fuss about a strong start.
“We’re not shouting from the rooftops,” he said. “We’re doing our jobs and taking it as it comes. Around Christmas we can see where we are.
“The aim at the start of the season was to get promotion, and at the minute we’re on course.
“We had a disappointing year last season by finishing outside the play-offs. The club have done a lot of scouting for new players, brought them in and they’ve bedded in straightaway.
“It’s a tough league with lots of money flying about, but we’ll go about it quietly. If we can score a few more goals then we will be right up there.”