By Toby Robinson
NANTWICH Town have received a major boost in their quest for promotion.
After just missing out last season, the Dabbers looked set for more misery with FC United romping away at the top of NWC Division One.
Three teams went up instead of the standard one back in May, leaving the club rueing a lost opportunity despite lifting the FA Vase.
However non-league chiefs have announced further restructuring of the pyramid system and that means extended promotion places should be up for grabs once again in 2007.
The UniBond League will expand to two regional first divisions to bring it in line with the Southern and Ryman leagues.
With Nantwich gearing up to move into their new £2.5m home at Kingsley Fields, the ground criteria will be met and a top-three finish should win promotion.
Chairman Clive Jackson says they have to grab this chance.
"I welcome the introduction of an additional first division at UniBond level," he explained.
"Whilst the arrangement doesn't guarantee promotion, with construction of our new stadium underway and combined with our current league standing, we currently have the criteria to meet the promotion requirements.
"We've worked very hard to improve our league status and facilities.
"What better incentive can we now have than to kick off a new season in a new league and in a new stadium."
Despite last Saturday's trip to Nelson being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Nantwich remain second.
But they have seen a seven-point gap quickly trimmed to just two with Salford City closing in and Curzon Ashton also looking ominous.
They return to action at tenth-place Bacup Borough on Saturday.
Player-boss Steve Davis says his side can't afford any slip-ups.
"It's good to know now rather than next May," he explained.
"I think it's only good if three go up and that's how it should be every year, it keeps the season alive for clubs.
"We knew if Salford won their games in hand, they would only be two points behind and credit to them.
"Although FC United have a lead, it looks like it's going to be pretty competitive for teams chasing behind.
"We just have to concentrate on us.
"We've got a tricky trip to Bacup on Saturday.
"They might be mid-table but they don't concede many and it's a sloping pitch up there."