LUDLOW FC boss Chris Waldron says his players are fully aware of the importance of this Saturday’s West Midlands Division Two promotion six-pointer at leaders AFC Bentley.

Victory would move Ludlow within a point of the table-toppers but defeat would leave them seven points behind.

Ludlow go into the game in good heart after scoring five on consecutive weekends, following up a 5-0 league win over Worcester Raiders Reserves with a 5-2 cup triumph over Prees.

“We’re full of confidence, having scored ten goals in the past two games,” said Waldron. “Obviously it will be a lot tougher at Bentley but we’ve just got to play our own game.

“For our aspirations, it’s a massive game. We want to get in the top three and that makes this a must-win game, we can’t afford not to win it.

“The players automatically know how important the game is, they don’t need telling, and I’m sure the rest of the league will be praying for us to win to keep the title race open.”

Ludlow cruised through to the semi-finals of the Shropshire Challenge Cup last weekend with a 5-2 victory over Shropshire Premier side Prees as Jack Marston bagged a hat-trick.

Ryan Lewis and Reece Williams also netted for Ludlow, who surged 3-0 ahead before a fortuitous cross-shot and a harsh penalty briefly got the visitors back into the game at 3-2.

Waldron was full of praise for midfielder Marston, who has made an instant impact since recently re-joining Ludlow, having left to sign for West Midlands Premier side Shawbury United in the summer.

“Jack scored two free-kicks on Saturday, which were quality – really good goals,” beamed Waldron. “He’s a very good player and still very young, it’s brilliant for us to have him back.

“He can score goals from midfield which is a big bonus – he’s played two games since coming back and scored five goals.

“He was voted the best player in the league for us last year and we were gutted to see him go and we’re just glad he’s back.”

Ludlow were joined in the cup semi-finals by West Midlands Two rivals Church Stretton, who enjoyed a walkover win over Montgomeryshire League side Trefonen.

The visitors were unable to raise a side and Stretton boss Scott Peever said it was a disappointing way to progress to the semis, which will be held early next year.

Peever, whose side have no game this weekend, added: “It’s nice to be in the semis but it de-values the competition a little bit when a team pulls out at the quarter-final stage.

“It’s sad because you don’t want to see another side struggling for players but it’s frustrating as it’s another week without a fixture for us.”