Penryn Athletic manager Harry Pope admits that it is hard not to think about the tantalising prospect of leading the club into the South West Peninsula League next season.

Athletic are one of two St Piran League clubs, along with Hayle, to have applied for promotion to the top division in Cornish football and potentially end a three-year absence from the SWPL, following their withdrawal from the SWPL Division 1 West prior to the start of the 2017/18 season.

A top-two finish in the St Piran League West is normally required if the clubs are to swap with a relegated team in the SWPL, but a finish of third, fourth or fifth could be acceptable this seasonshould they be filling a vacancy created by a team being promoted out of the SWPL.

Pope’s side are very well placed to meet that criterion, with Penryn currently enjoying a seven-point lead at the top of the division with just nine games remaining.

The Penryn boss has never hidden his desire to manage in the SWPL, but is keen to ensure he and his team stay focused.

“It’s hard because we tried to get promoted in my last season at Carharrack,” he said, “we wanted to get promoted to the Peninsula last year with Penryn but the St Piran League coming in was a bit of a hurdle for us, but the dream had been to try and get Peninsula football for the last couple of years.

“It’s hard not to think of that when we’re so close, but if we don’t finish the job, then all of the dreaming and all of the hard work we’ve put in to get to where we are right now is for absolutely nothing, so we are just taking it game by game.

“It’s hard not to get excited when I see things written about us saying that it’s Penryn’s to lose, but I try not to focus on that and keep focusing on the job at hand.”

Penryn’s title credentials will be tested in the coming weeks, with six of their remaining nine games against six of the other sides in the top eight.

That begins at home to Hayle on Saturday before a trip to second-placed St Ives Town on March 7, with games against Illogan RBL, Perranporth, St Day and Falmouth Town reserves to follow.

“We’ve done well, the points we’ve got on the board is great," Pope said, "but if we don’t kick on and prove ourselves in the run-in then it’s basically all for nothing.

“All of the top teams have to play each other but we do have a very tough run. St Day, Perranporth and St Ives all away, they’re all going to be tough games. We’ve got Falmouth to come, Hayle on Saturday and Illogan at home, they’re absolutely flying so that’s not gong to be easy.

“Hopefully teams will be taking points off each other but we’ve just got to focus on us and take each game as it comes. I know it’s cliché but it’s true.”