After a blank weekend one of the most famous names in non-league football provides the opposition for Whitchurch Alport this coming Saturday at Yockings Park.

Northwich Victoria have sadly fallen into decline after years of mismanagement which has seen them tumble through the leagues after a number of forced relegations.

A phoenix club, 1874 Northwich, appeared and they now top the NWCFL Premier Division but Vics languish in mid-table, forced to share Witton Albion’s Wincham Park ground.

How the mighty have fallen and it was at Wincham that Sean Griffiths’s 96th minute goal separated the two sides on the opening day.

Since then there have been seismic changes at Alport not least at the very top of the organisation.

Joint chairmen Ryan Jardine and Johnny Allman both stepped aside as did manager Luke Goddard to hand over the reins to present incumbent Matt Burton.

Goddard moved upstairs to become interim chairman but the period of transition has seen Alport tumble down the table after the brightest start imaginable to the present campaign.

Six wins and a draw from the opening seven matches had Alport fans dreaming of a potential top three finish which would have brought promotion, but a mid-season wobble would now see a top-half finish regarded as a successful season.

Dylan Bath, Arron Johns, Lee Pickerill and Joe Cuff have all moved on from the club but in have come Matty Owen, Lewis Jarman, Sam Phillips and most recently, Ryan Allcock.

Five defeats from the last six league matches at Yockings means it’s almost four months since the last win there.

Historically this term, Alport have been poor after an enforced break but the rest period may have given striker Alex Hughes time to recover from an ankle knock picked up in last Monday’s win away at Winsford United.

No such luck for full-back Ben Chilcott who is recovering well from a nasty ankle injury that could very well take up to 12 months to recover from.

Chilcott had to have an operation for two breaks as well as tendon and ligament repairs.

Burton gave an update on his young defender’s situation: “Chilly is back home having had successful surgery.

“He’s had a plate inserted in his ankle and the tendons and ligaments have been put back together having come away from the bone.

“It’s going to be a long process for the lad but the club have been in touch with his mum and they are going through the insurances.

“It’s at times like this where you appreciate what being at a football club like Whitchurch Alport is all about.

“There are plans in place to make sure Ben is well looked after and I plan to go and visit him now he is out of hospital.”

The Reds boss is expecting a tough match on Saturday: “There are no easy games in this league,” he said.

“You only have to look at some of the results over the past couple of weeks with Ashton winning 4–0 at Bootle before losing at home to Padiham then Burscough winning at Charnock Richard.

“You can’t predict anything these days so we know we will be in for another tough test against Northwich.

“They will be disappointed to have let a 2–1 lead evaporate in the last five minutes on Saturday to lose the game and we hope they will be fatigued from the midweek derby against 74.

“Hopefully, we won’t be ring rusty after the rest but the message to the team will be the same as it’s been for the past few matches – to stay tight and compact, keep our shape and discipline and to take our chances when they come along.”

Burton is well aware that poor home form is costing his side valuable league places.

“I’m desperate for a win at Yockings and so are the players,” he said.

“If you analyse some of the recent home defeats we’ve been unlucky that we’ve faced 1874, Charnock, Longridge and Bootle but in three of those games we’ve been ultra-competitive.

“We’ve not had that decisive cutting edge that some of those teams have possessed but last time out against Bootle no one could deny that we were worth at least a draw if not more than that.

“I’m sure we’ll turn the corner soon and rest assured none of the players fear playing in front of such fantastic supporters.”

Saturday’s match is sponsored by Libra before a rearranged league fixture at Longridge a week tonight (February 19, 8pm).