WARRINGTON Rylands are finding out just how intense the battle for promotion from the Northern Premier League West Division is.

And already, it looks as though they may well be playing for second.

Manager Dave McNabb admits that even at this relatively early stage, league leaders Marine are looking like they will be difficult to catch.

The Crosby-based side are five points clear at the summit with a game in hand, with Blues among a clutch of sides packed tightly together behind them.

They sit fourth as part of a group of seven teams – from Workington in second down to eighth-place Trafford – separated by just four points.

On Saturday, they aim to shake off last weekend’s defeat at fellow promotion contenders Runcorn Linnets when they welcome Ramsbottom United to Gorsey Lane.

“I think what’s different about Marine is that they are just absolutely clinical in both boxes,” McNabb said.

“They are so professional – they’ve only conceded 11 goals all season and if you’re not letting goals in, you always have a chance of nicking it at the other end.

“At five points ahead with a game in hand, I personally think it’s going to be a struggle to catch them.

“Having said that, I think there will be a period in which they drop points.

“The problem is, everybody else will probably have those as well. The consistency you have to perform at week in, week out to pick up points is through the roof.

“The league is competitive across the board, not just at the top.

“We’ve just beaten Prescot 7-2, then they have gone and played Mossley, who would have gone above us with a win, and beaten them three days later.

“Anybody can beat anyone and teams at the top seem to be taking points off each other at the minute with the exception of Marine.”

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