GRAHAM Heathcote saluted Altrincham's continuing success story, after another notable Blue Square Conference triumph, and revealed how supporters can play an integral part in ensuring it is maintained next season.

A near-post finish by John McAliskey and penalty from Shaun Densmore were followed by more stout defending by Greg Young and Robbie Williams late on, as Alty made light of a bumpy Moss Lane pitch to run out worthy 2-0 winners against play-off contenders Kettering Town.

Heathcote marvelled at his players' enduring spirit and resolve, after seeing them spike the guns of another big-budget outfit with designs on top spot, and explained how the town's response beween now and the end of April could decide whether the heroics continue next season.

"It is so important the fans keep coming through the turnstiles," said the Alty manager.

"What we get in gate money over the remaining month or so is very much going to determine what we can do next season.

"The last thing I want is to go to a board meeting and be told we have to reduce the wage bill, but we need sufficient income to avoid that scenario. So many people work incredibly hard for this club, and we all appreciate the support we get, but we are entering a critical phase in that respect.

"The £30,000 hand-out from the Premier League won't be there, for one thing. That was a one-off to compensate for the loss of Setanta TV revenue, so we have to bridge that gap somehow. Thankfully, we have some very attractive games coming up, starting with Rushden and Diamonds on Saturday, so I hope people will come along in numbers."

After starting brightly but ending up on the back foot in Saturday's 0-0 home draw with York, Alty made the most of their early supremacy against Kettering and were two goals up by half-time.

"It could easily have been four," said Heathcote. "I take my hat off to the players. They keep being tested, with all the injury setbacks we've had, but they keep responding. Their attitude against Kettering was fantastic."

Skipper Robbie Lawton hopes to be fit for Saturday's home game with fourth-placed Rushden.