THE curse of the monthly awards may have hit Furness Rovers last Saturday, but for joint-manager Graeme Allinson it still shows how far the club has progressed in fewer than 12 months.

Rovers were on the verge of pulling out of West Lancashire League Division Two last November due to struggles to raise a team, but were able to continue and put together a 10-game unbeaten run to end the 2017-18 campaign.

That carried on with four straight wins at the start of this season, which led to Rovers being named team of the month for August along with Allinson, Keiron Gudgeon and Rob Denby picking up a joint manager of the month accolade.

Typically, that was followed by a 4-0 loss at Horwich St Mary’s Victoria last Saturday.

“We said straight away there must be some kind of curse that comes with these things - and unfortunately we were right,” said Allinson. “But it just shows how much the team and the club as a whole has developed over the past 12 months.

“This time last year, we’d played six, lost six and hadn’t even scored a goal and in November, we were struggling to raise two sides and had an emergency meeting as to whether or not we were going to continue in the West Lancs the following Saturday - that’s how close it was.

“It just shows we’ve come a long way in a short space of time, now having three teams instead of struggling last year to raise a team and a half, it shows how right through things are certainly looking up.”

Allinson was quick to credit the Rovers players for the turnaround in fortunes, citing the change of mentality from simply trying to avoid defeat ahead of the 2-1 win away to Thornton Cleveleys reserves last March as the turning point.

Off the field, the squad have been helping by organising fund-raising activities such as the charity boxing event with Vickerstown which was suggested by player and Barrow ABC boxer Joshua Jones.

Rovers aim to get back to winning ways when they head to Longridge Town reserves tomorrow, although former Rovers player Allinson expect the 12-team Division Two to be close-fought this season.

“It’s only a small league we play in, but it’s quite competitive and there are no whipping boys,” said Allinson. “You try to predict results on a Saturday and it’s hard to do it because there are some really good teams in there.

“It’s nice to see the local teams holding their own, but then you go down the M6 and play some teams with nice facilities, and it really is competitive.”

Tomorrow's fixtures (all 3pm)

North West Counties League First Division Cup: Holker Old Boys v Garstang.

West Lancashire League Premier Division: Coppull United v Vickerstown.

West Lancashire League Division One: Askam United v Stoneclough, Eagley v GSK Ulverston Rangers, Hawcoat Park v Wyre Villa, Kendal County v Millom.

West Lancashire League Division Two: Dalton United v Galgate, Furness Cavaliers v Kendal United, Longridge Town reserves v Furness Rovers, Walney Island v Mill Hill St Peters.