That means they have to find some consistency after a troubled period. Not only has their form been poor since early December — most recently in a run of three consecutive defeats in which they twice conceded four goals — star striker Jamie Rainford quit Surrey Street three weeks go.
After four seasons of success, this is uncharted territory for manager Chris Willcock and the club as a whole. However, last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colwyn Bay, in which new signing Dale Johnson grabbed a late winner, suggests the Hillmen might still have a few shots in their locker.
Johnson, one of the biggest names on the local non-league scene, has moved to North End from FC United. He was twice an effective striker for Hyde United and was at the forefront of Ashton United’s recent promotion bids. Not surprisingly, Willcock was happy to sign him.
“After Jamie Rainford left us we needed to add another centre-forward and I was delighted when Dale agreed to join us. He’s a local boy and a great addition to the squad. I’m sure he’ll really contribute to our fight to reach the play-offs,” said the Glossop boss.
“He scored the winner for us at Colwyn Bay and I’m sure that won’t be the last time he does that. I hope Dale hits the ground running and adds to the quality we have here. He’s already given us a lift and the dressing room is buoyant that he’s joined us.
“Obviously, he hasn’t played for a couple of months since leaving FC United, and he needs to get fitter and sharper, but I’m sure that will come. I expect Dale to make a big impact over the last two months of the season.
“As for Jamie Rainford, it was purely a financial thing. He got an offer from Colwyn Bay that he couldn’t turn down. He felt it was the right thing for him to accept it.
“Jamie scored something like 50 goals in 64 games for us and was a great servant for the club. I wish him all the best and I wish I could have kept him. Sadly we just couldn’t compete with Colwyn Bay’s offer.”
Although Willcock admits to being frustrated by the number of postponements the Hillmen have suffered in recent weeks, most of the outstanding fixtures are at home and he believes that will work in the club’s favour. Glossop’s form has been very good at Surrey Street where they have won ten out of 14 league games, losing only twice.
He added: “The problems with our pitch are well-documented and we’re having conversations with High Peak Council to find out whether they might be able to do something to sort out the situation long-term or short-term going forward.
“It’s very frustrating when matches are called off, especially when we won at the weekend and wanted to build some momentum. We really need to be playing Saturday – Tuesday –Saturday if we’re to get that momentum. I want us to get points on the board from our games in hand so that we’re in a stronger position.
“Strange as this may sound after we’ve twice let in four goals recently, I truly believe our defensive performances are getting better. I can see improvement on a weekly basis. What we have to do is shake off the inconsistency, the lapses of concentration and the lack of communication. We’ve got to eradicate that.
“If you look at our recent record, we beat Trafford, who had been unbeaten in 18 games, and up to half time were holding Farsley who are a very strong team and I’m sure will be challenging for the title. In Jamie Walshaw I believe they have the best centre-forward in the league.
“In the first half we did well and kept them quiet. After the break we conceded three goals in 12 minutes but I felt the scoreline flattered them slightly. We were punished for three key mistakes and that really disappointed me. Up to then we had defended so well.
“We should have beaten Ossett Town — that was fine margins — then against Radcliffe I was bitterly disappointed again. We must have created 20 chances and not taken them.
“But we did well against Colwyn Bay, coming back from a goal down at half time. They’re a good side and Llanellian Road is a tough place to go and pick up three points.
“So the play-offs remain our aim. I won’t say I’ve got my fingers crossed, but I’m hopeful. We’ve got to play a lot of teams around us so we’ll see what develops. It would be a great achievement to make the play-offs again but we’re not there yet.”