Thackley are recovering from a dreadful end to the year and are looking for a full return to form in 2014.

Lee Clapham’s men were riding high and firmly in the title hunt in the Toolstation Northern Counties East Premier Division.

A fixture-free Saturday on the final day of November cost them second spot and they have not been in the top two since.

Three league defeats and an exit from the FA Vase last month were a major setback and dented confidence. The only bright spot before Christmas was a 2-2 draw at Dennyfield against then leaders Tadcaster Albion.

Spokesman Mick Lodge said: “We have had a couple of injuries and suspensions but nothing that the other clubs haven’t had. We just had a rough patch really but things are looking up.

“Nicky Matthews is back from a long-term injury and is getting 70 odd minutes in games and Luke Hudson is getting somewhere near and is scoring. Lee is using him sparingly at the minute because he feels Luke is not quite there.

“When they are all fully fit Lee will have selection problems of another kind. Luke Richardson has another two games of his suspension to serve so he will be another player who will be available again.”

Lodge revealed that Ben Higginson is back at the club following a spell with Farsley in the Evo-Stik League, giving Matt Convey competition for the No 1 jersey.

“Ben has been back between the sticks for the last two or three games but Matt is still here so they are keeping each other on their toes.

“Everyone is just hoping that we can start picking points up again like we did back in the early part of the season.

“We were just shading games but lately some of the lower teams have given us some tough matches. We seem to run into sides that are in good form.”