Dave McNabb hopes his Bury side can build on their promising performances over the Christmas period ahead of a “tough” test against Irlam.

Confidence is high in the camp after victories against Prestwich Heys and AFC Liverpool saw the Shakers climb to the top of the table.

McNabb’s side were keen to build on their momentum against Barnoldswick on Tuesday night but that game fell victim to the weather conditions.

“Irlam have got quite a young squad, really technical and they will play football the right way,” McNabb told The Bury Times.

“I don’t think they will be overly bothered by the crowd, they will come and see it as a chance to show how good they are.

“They have got some young, talented and technical players and are good going forward. I am expecting a difficult game.”

He continued: “We were looking forward to Tuesday. It was touch and go on the morning and then there was another flurry of rain in the afternoon when the referee was coming to have a look at it.

“It was the right call, it would have severely hampered the game and even if we started, I doubt we would have been able to finish.

“It is frustrating, we obviously want to play, but we need to worry about things that are within our control. We will train on Thursday as usual and take the performances from the last two games into Irlam.”

McNabb is looking forward to returning to Gigg Lane after a record-breaking crowd against Prestwich on Boxing Day.

“We were looking forward to that game for a long time,” the manager explained. “The form wasn’t great going into it and I think we were a little bit low on confidence across the group, it just wasn’t quite clicking.

“But knowing you are going to be playing in front of more than 4,000 fans and the noise they generate – there was no negativity, it was all positive.

“I think that changed the mindset of the players and maybe we realised that we need to view it as a benefit rather than something that might weigh us down at times, in terms of the expectation.”

He added: “We had to change our gameplan up a little bit for the Prestwich game, it worked really well in the first half particularly. Second half, it was just about seeing the game through.

“I think the players showed maturity in their performance, particularly second half.

“To get a win against local rivals - a big day for the club on Boxing Day and a huge turnout from the fans – it was really pleasing.”