Eighteen months ago, few people would have seen them as having National League North potential, yet they achieved that status with back-to-back promotions. So when talk of reaching the play-offs starts to be heard from Tameside Stadium, maybe it’s not a good idea to write off their chances entirely.
The Nash, who not too long ago seemed to be long-term members of the Evo-stik NPL first division north, are ninth in Vanarama North. With eight games left to play, they are seven points off fifth place.
As far as manager John Flanagan is concerned, that’s what his team have got to aim for. He knows the odds are against Curzon, who have some very tough matches coming up, but he’d determined his side will battle for every one of the 24 points on offer.
“There’s a very small possibility we can make the play-offs. If we’re going to manage it, we need to be consistent and we need somebody else to fall on their face — to explode,” said the Nash boss.
“We’ve got Chorley on Saturday, and then we’ve got Harrogate Town, but we’ve also got to face clubs like Hednesford, Lowestoft and Gloucester who are further down the table. On the last day of the season we play Stockport County and depending on how they’re doing by then, they might field a weakened team.
“However it works out my target is for Curzon Ashton to finish in the highest position they’ve ever been. So far this season we’ve been as high as eighth. If we can finish eighth or above we’ll have done particularly well I think.
“Hopefully we’ll do okay. If we can get 15 or more points from the games that are left I’d have to be pretty satisfied.”
Flanagan admits the Nash have a reputation for suffering post-Christmas blips when the pitches get heavier. Even so, he is pleased they have avoided any long runs of defeats this term and have always responded well.
Yet he was unprepared for what happened a couple of weeks ago when Curzon surrendered a 2-0 lead at Bradford Park Avenue — a club they had beaten only days before — and lost 4-2.
“That’s exactly what we did,” commented Flanagan. “We surrendered after holding the lead and being in control. In hindsight, the mood in the dressing room at half time was a bit casual like the players believed they’d done enough. They were getting ready for a night out and I think they were turning their attention to that.
“I didn’t say much after the game but I went ballistic at training the following Tuesday. I spoke from my heart and told the squad a few home truths. I told them I felt they had really let me down personally.
“They’re a great bunch of lads and they responded. We beat Gainsborough 2-0 and then beat Worcester 3-1.”
Flanagan also praised striker Danny Cockerline signed from Sheffield United. He said: “He’s only had three or four starts but he’s scored a few goals. Danny’s got some grey areas but he’s only 19. He’s a big lad and for a big lad he’s got good feet. I just wish he headed a ball better.”