ALVECHURCH boss Ian Long planned to speak with some of the club's supporters this week in an attempt to try and drum up larger crowds at Lye Meadow.

Church saw their latest home attendance dwindle to just over 100 when they pummelled Peterborough Sports 4-0 and an anxious Long explained: "While we appreciate all the support we get, we need more and the club is exploring every avenue to get as many supporters as possible.

"It's encouraging that some of the supporters have come up with ideas to boost attendance because makes a massive difference to us and provides extra clout when we're trying to sign new players.

"I tried to sign a player only this week who suddenly became available, but I found I couldn't compete with the money being offered by some Step 5 clubs.

"It is a cause for concern that people aren't coming to see us play when we're on the crest of a wave. What would happen if we hit a bad run of form?"

However, Long couldn't hide his delight this week as Church steadily tighten their grip on second place and automatic promotion from Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.

But despite having games in hand over all their rivals, Long insisted: "We cannot rest on our laurels and we've got to turn those games in hand into points, otherwise they mean nothing.

It's something I've been trying to push home to the players.

"I look at some of our rivals and they're starting to run out of games. As a result, the pressure is now on them because they cannot afford to make many more mistakes.

"We've created a cushion for ourselves after coming through a really tough period during February with good performances against the likes of promotion rivals Frickley and Stamford.

"It looked really tough on paper, but in truth, we came through it far better than expected and then had the added bonus of Cleethorpes suffering a 12 point deduction, especially as I'd considered them to be our closest rival".

Church ironically travel to Cleethorpes this Saturday, which Long describes as their last long distance trip of the season before entertaining Gresley next Tuesday night.

In the meantime Long and his fellow staff members have all chipped in some money to help replace the club flag.

The original flag went missing following their 1-1 draw at Hereford and hasn't been seen since.

Long added: "It's a far cry from Premiership football. It's cost us £80 to replace the flag which should feature at the next home game against Gresley."