RYLANDS are aiming for “around 15 points” from a packed January schedule, according to first-team coach Mike Smith.

They did not make the best of starts on that score after falling to defeat at home to mid-table Barnoldswick Town on Saturday.

A trip to neighbours and promotion rivals Irlam tonight provides the perfect opportunity to bounce back from what was a disappointing blow.

An early goal from Andrew Hill and an inspired goalkeeping display from Barlick stopper Jack Little – including saving Louis Coyne’s injury-time penalty – means back-to-back defeats either side of the new year for Blues.

They remain fifth in the North West Counties League Premier Division table, but the gap to the promotion spots is now nine points.

“There’s a lot of football left in the season yet,” first team coach Mike Smith said.

“I think that game (Barnoldswick) was the first of nine this month where we’re playing Saturday-Tuesday.

“We need to use that to build a bit of momentum and put pressure on those above us.

“The more games where we don’t get results, the higher the chance of our season petering out if we’re not careful.

“We know what our targets are. If we can get around 15 points out of those games minimum, we have a real opportunity to move up in the league because as you say, anybody beats anybody in this league.”

Another showdown with a fellow high-flyer is on the horizon on Saturday as Blues travel to second-place Charnock Richard.