PLAY-OFFS should be introduced for the Northern Counties East League Premier division, insists Tadcaster Albion manager Paul Marshall.
The Brewers' boss, whose men go to Staveley Miners Welfare tomorrow, is unlikely to lead his side to the title this season after a shock 1-0 loss to Glasshoughton Welfare gave rivals Brighouse Town the initiative last weekend.
They then took charge at the summit with a 3-0 win over Liversedge in midweek and, with two games in hand and a one point lead over Albion, are odds-on to pip Tadcaster to the title.
In charge of a team that went 24 games unbeaten earlier in the season, has lost only five games in 41 and could yet post a total of 97 points by the end of the campaign, Marshall has railed against the league system that sees only the champions go into the Evo-Stik League first division.
He believes that the NCEL premier, which plays host to 23 teams, deserves another promotion spot with the top four sides having all gained at least 80 points with three weeks of the campaign still to go.
Marshall revealed the club's new owners, York-based i2i Sports, are making inquiries about a future change in the system and he said: "If we can get three wins, pick up 97 points and don't get promoted then there is something wrong with the system.
"It is unfair. Teams in higher leagues have been getting reprieves and there are quite a few teams above us that are in trouble. This situation demoralises people. We have people involved who have come in to try and improve a club and, for me, the Northern Counties and North West leagues are the hardest to get out of with only one going up from each.
"There are no play-offs and there should be. It's not rocket science. The second placed teams in the NCEL and North West leagues could play for a promotion place. I know i2i Sports are looking into it and it's difficult to get new owners in to clubs if there is not a lot of incentive.
"There needs to be a play-off system. You have teams in the Evo-Stik League that finish third bottom on 30 points and they stay up and teams that have picked up 90 points can't go up."
Marshall will be without Josh Barrett and Richard Batley for the trip to Staveley but Denny Ingram has served a two match suspension and will slot back in at centre-half for the Brewers.
Mitch Cook enjoyed a happy homecoming when Pickering Town won 1-0 at Bridlington Town in the NCEL premier. Jamie Patterson's 20th minute goal ensured Cook, who managed at Queensgate for two years, had plenty to smile about and he will be hoping that continues when the Pikes host Heanor Town on Saturday.
Selby Town await Hemsworth Miners Welfare in NCEL division one, while Knaresborough Town are at AFC Emley.
Harrogate Town lost 1-0 to Eccleshill United with a last minute penalty in the final of the West Riding County Cup on Wednesday night and manager Simon Weaver is in need of a win.
He will be hoping they can kick-start their fading Conference North play-off hopes, which took a battering when they were beaten 5-2 at Gloucester last weekend, when they entertain Leamington at Wetherby Road.
Harrogate Railway are at Kendall Town in the Evo-Stik League first division north. In the south, Scarborough Athletic host Leek Town.