SHAUN Dixon is excited to get another opportunity see how Croftlands Park stack up against an unfamiliar opponent when the Furness Premier League side travel to Elton Vale in the Lancashire Amateur Cup second round tomorrow.

Park, currently top of the FPL Premier Divison, took their impressive league form into the county competition by beating Old Blackburnians 3-2 at home last month to earn a trip to Manchester League Division One outfit Elton.

Croftlands have enjoyed a rapid ascent since joining the FPL four years ago and chairman Dixon, who handed over the managerial reins to assistant Paul Hartley in the summer, is eager to gauge how the 2017 champions fair against sides beyond the South Lakes boundaries on their first foray into the Amateur Cup.

“That’s one of the reasons we entered,” said Dixon. “Hopefully we’ll get a couple of away days and we’ve got one this weekend, and we’ve got to see how we do and how we fare against the higher-ranked teams.

“It’s a cup we’ve never entered before, so we’re going into the unknown, really, because no-one knows what the opposition is like. I know there are a lot of higher-ranked teams in there, so we’ve got to take it game by game and see how far we can go.

“They’re (Elton Vale) roughly at West Lancs Division One level, but anyone can beat anyone on their day, so we’ll have to see.”

Croftlands go into the match three points clear at the top of the FPL Premier Division, having scored 64 goals in 12 matches as well.

That included a 9-2 win over Walney Island reserves last Saturday and Dixon puts those eye-catching results down to several factors.

“We’ve probably had better availability this season, we’ve had a few new players come in and there is a new manager this time because Paul Hartley has taken over,” said Dixon.

“Last year was a bit of a transition because we had a reserve team starting out for the first time and it’s a bit more settled now. They won Division Two and now quite a few of them who are 18-year-olds are making the first team now.”

Haverigg United are the other FPL side left standing at this stage and they travel to Wesham.

Of the West Lancashire League teams, Walney Island are at home to Rishton United, Askam United welcome Galgate, Crooklands Casuals head to Pennington, Furness Cavaliers host Millhead and Hawcoat Park are at home to Atherton LR reserves.

Meanwhile, Millom are already into the last 32 after being given a walkover by Walton Le Dale.