PRESTWICH Heys’ home fixture with Whitchurch Alport was postponed last Saturday as the winter weather wiped out the whole of the non-league football programme.

That postponement, added to Tuesday’s night’s First Division match at Atherton LR, means Jon Lyons’ team are in for a hectic run-in.

Heys, currently fifth in the table, have a hugely congested fixture list which sees them facing 18 First Division games in the next nine weeks while also still being involved in two cup competitions.

Despite the daunting demands the schedule brings, manager Lyons is upbeat about his team’s prospects.

“I’m pleased with the season so far,” he said.

“The lads have worked hard and, although we have had a couple of blips, we are challenging on three fronts – the league, the Macron Cup and LWC First Division Cup. We are now at the business end of the season and we need to finish our job off by getting promoted, which was, and is, our main aim and hopefully win a cup along the way.”

The Heys boss admits the number of games postponed has been frustrating but has praised the attitude of his players.

“Although the number of cancelled games has been frustrating it hasn’t really affected us,” he added.

“The lads have maintained good levels of fitness all season with how hard they’ve all been working in training, they can’t wait for the games to start again.”

Heys approach the run-in with some confidence, with six wins and a draw in their last seven games.

Lyons, who has been in charge at Adie Moran Park since November 2011, said: “We’re in good form at the moment and the lads have regained their confidence after our bad patch in November.

“Although the fixture list has been disjointed they have kept their focus and that has brought us some good results and performances.”

It’s a run that has put his side in the thick of the battle to win promotion to the Premier Division, with eight sides fighting for either the two automatic promotion spots or the four play-off positions, a race Lyons expects to be tight.

“The top sides have all still to face each other,” he said. “Everyone has a lot of games to play and the midweek games may well have an impact.

“In that respect we are in some ways fortunate we’ve got a lot more home games than anyone else.

“Hopefully that will work in our favour as it will mean not needing to travel as much in midweek.

“Other than Oswestry, all our remaining away fixtures are quite local.”

Last season, Heys faced a similarly demanding run in but the Heys manager believes they are better prepared than this time 12 months ago.

“We are in a better position this time around,” he said. “We’ve got a bigger and much younger squad this season and there is much more scope for me to change things round.

“However, it would be wrong for me not to say that I’m still worried about how many games we have to play in a short period of time.

“On top of playing that large number of games, everyone has families and work commitments to juggle and that can have an impact when games are coming close together, particularly if you have two midweek games in one week.

“For that reason, we will be looking to bring a few players in before the transfer deadline later this month, to either improve our squad or even just as cover in case we pick any injuries up.

“Overall, though, I just want to get playing again. We are all raring to go.”

Heys, whose last outing was a 3-1 victory at home to AFC Blackpool on February 20, will hope to see action once again when they travel to Bacup Borough for a league game this Saturday, kick off 3pm.

Given the extreme weather and damage caused by storms to the Brian Boys West View Stadium recently, that game already looks in doubt.

Next Tuesday night, Heys are on the road again for a Macron Cup last-16 match at Premier Division Burscough. Kick off is 7.45pm.