A CUMBRIAN football club that is 'punching above its weight' has been ordered to upgrade its pitch facilities or face expulsion from its division.

Milnthorpe Corinthians FC, promoted to the West Lancashire Premier League for the 2022-23 season, has submitted a planning application for an extension to its toilet block to provide separate facilities for the public and match officials - a requirement for Premier League clubs set by the West Lancashire Football Association.

The physical impact of the improvement may seem minor, said chairman Mike Wills, but with the club facing a 'struggle' to maintain its status on the pitch following pre-season setbacks, remaining in the division is vital to keep the progress of the club in the right trajectory.

"Jimmy Marshall, our previous manager who got us promoted from the first division last season, left us to join Kendal Town in the summer, " he said.

"We always knew that someone like Jimmy wouldn't hang around and someone at a higher level would be after him but it was very disappointing for us to lose him just after we got promoted.

"I get on well with Jimmy, I don't blame him, he was fantastic for our club. 

"He brought excellent players in but felt he couldn't turn the offer down from Kendal.

"Four or five players went with him and others went back to clubs they played for before. 

"We were only really left with one player from last year's team, our club captain Scott Singleton, and he's been out injured.

"So we have a completely new team under our new manager Shaun Gardner.

"We've had a few 5 and 6-0 defeats, but we did win a game 7-0 recently.

"It's been a difficult start but things are definitely picking up as the team gels - we've just got to stick together.

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"We are punching above our weight, as we are basically a village club, and we're competing against teams from Preston, Blackpool, Bolton that have a far wider catchment area.

"It's free to watch our games and we get a good crowd of around 100 - we'd invite anyone to come down and cheer us on.

"We've got a great little clubhouse and bar - that's our main source of income, without that, we wouldn't survive."

"We keep our social media well updated too so people can see our fixtures there."