PAUL Schofield says Knutsford’s determination to win back-to-back Cheshire League titles is undimmed despite a run of poor results.

Reds remain favourites to be the first team since Middlewich, in 2007, to finish first in Division One in successive seasons, according to their manager.

“It’s a big ask,” said Schofield.

“When you’re the champions, then you become a target for other teams who raise their game when they play against you.

“We’ve definitely discovered that, Knutsford is seen as a scalp to take now.

“The lads have coped well with that and made a great start to the season, but the gloss has been taken off that in the past few weeks when their confidence has been hit a bit.”

Knutsford exited the Cheshire FA Amateur Cup and JB Parker Challenge Cup in the weeks before Christmas, leaving them to focus on top spot in the table.

Their record in the calendar year is admirable though, winning 23 of 29 games in Division One before kick off against Eagle after the Guardian went to press.

Schofield added: “We’ve been on a great run.

“It’s tiring to find the level of intensity needed to keep winning tough games, and we’ve found that hard at times.

“I’ve stuck with the same group of players because I know that they have the experience to cope.”

He picked newly-promoted Whaley Bridge as Reds’ most impressive opponents to date, a side to which they lost 3-1 earlier this month.

They closed to within a point of Knutsford as a reward.

“They’re a good side,” said Schofield.

“The game at their place was the first time in two years that I’ve felt during it that we might not have enough to win.

“They’re contenders, definitely.”

Meanwhile Knutsford pair Mark Higgs and Dean Warburton helped Cheshire League’s representative team to a 1-0 win at their Lancashire & Cheshire League counterparts last Tuesday in the first leg of the North West Inter League Cup semi finals.