THERE could hardly be a better way to end the first stage of the rebuilding job at Dalton United than an appearance in a cup final.

First, however, they must overcome near-neighbours Furness Cavaliers in tomorrow's West Lancashire League Challenge Cup semi-final at the neutral venue of Longlands Park if they are to achieve that.

Joint-managers Andrew Marshall and Dalton stalwart Phil Rigg are both well aware of what it would mean to all at Railway Meadow, with the club having slipped from being an established Premier Division team to mid-table in Division Two in the past decade.

So after a season which has shown promising signs at times, being in with the chance of lifting some silverware would be the perfect way to keep the revival going.

"It's been a long time coming for Dalton, to be honest," said Marshall.

"They've not had a great deal of success over the past 10 years and have been in a bit of a spiral, so it's been a bit of a rebuild at the club.

"We're starting to take things forward and it would be the icing on the cake to finish this season off."

It is not just the senior section where Marshall and Rigg have concentrated their efforts, with much being done to close the divide which had opened up between them and Dalton Juniors.

Marshall knows all too well the importance of having a pathway in place for players to progress and is eager to ensure the next generation have the opportunity to make an impact for United.

"The biggest thing for me is development of football as a whole, whether it's adults coming through at 16 to 18 or the juniors coming through between 14 and 16," said Marshall.

"They're all going to be looking to play adult football at some stage and progress in the future, so you've got to look for the next x-amount of years and what you can produce."

A cup win would do wonders for helping inspire them too, although Cavaliers have proven tricky opponents for Dalton.

Their presence in the semis means one team from this area is guaranteed a final place, with Walney Island aiming to fill the other spot when they play Kendal United at Ulverston Rangers.

"It's a good spectacle for local football," said Marshall. "Not only to see us and Furness Cavs in it, but Walney in the other semi-final and, arguably, Kendal because that's not a million miles away from us.

"It's always been a difficult one (against Cavaliers) and that will add to it, but hopefully the players can get up for it and be at their best."

Tomorrow's fixtures

West Lancashire League

Premier Division (3pm): Hurst Green v Vickerstown.

Division One: Hawcoat Park v CMB, Milnthorpe Corinthians v Millom.

Challenge Cup semi-finals (3pm): Dalton United v Furness Cavaliers (at Crookland Casuals), Walney Island v Kendal County (at Ulverston Rangers).

Furness Premier League

Premier Division (2pm): Bootle v Croftlands Park, Millom res v Holker Old Boys res, Swarthmoor Social v Haverigg United, Walney Island res v Barrow Celtic.

Division One (2pm): Barrow Celtic res v Vickerstown A, British Legion v Crooklands Casuals res, Croftlands Park res v Barrow Wanderers.

Division Two (2pm): Britannia res v Furness Rovers A, Haverigg United res v Coniston, Kirkby United res v Bootle res, Millom St James v Holker Old Boys A.

Furness Senior Cup quarter-finals (2pm): Ulverston Rangers v Crooklands Casuals, Askam United v Vickerstown res.

Furness Junior Cup second round (2pm): Dalton United res v Hawcoat Park A, Barrow Wanderers res v Askam United res, Bridge United v Swarthmoor Social res,

Paul Wilson Memorial Trophy second round (2pm): Furness Rovers res v Furness Cavaliers res, Ulverston Rangers res v Britannia (at Redwaters).