THERE was a lot of hype around Ilkley's rise to semi-professional football, with fans intrigued to see their expansive and eye-catching style of play.

And since arriving to this level for the first time in the club's history, Simon Armstrong's men have more than played their part in the opening stages of the season.

In fact, they've probably surpassed expectations, having already won three fixtures, most recently on Saturday when they defeated St Helens 3-2 at home.

Armstrong's side face perhaps their toughest test this weekend as they come up against league leaders, AFC Blackpool, a side who have only lost once so far this season.

But despite being 14 places behind Blackpool in the league standings, Armstrong believes their isn't a great deal between the league's high-flyers and those camped in the lower half of the table.

He said: "I went to watch Blackpool when they played Campion and Campion played really well. They probably deserved a point that day.

"Blackpool just had that extra bit of quality in the final ten minutes, which inevitably won them the game.

"They're structured, they're organised, they're fit, aggressive and they're a good side, but do I see massive differences between a Blackpool and a Campion, who at the time were second bottom in the table.

"I don't see massive differences between Blackpool and most sides around the bottom half of the table, but I think the thing that they've got in their favour is fine margins.

"I've said that from the start based on what I've seen in our games, that a lot of our results are down to fine margins.

"Blackpool have a lot of experience at this level, understand the level very well and they also understand what is required to perform consistently at this level."

"Do I think they're unbeatable? No, but I feel we need to work hard to ensure the fine margins go in our favour."

"From what I've seen so far, there isn't a great deal between the top and the bottom of the league."

Blackpool will be looking to continue their fine momentum, and as the league's top scorers, they will be confident of notching a few against Ilkley, who have the second leakiest defence in the league.

But Armstrong trusts his philosophy and admitted a change of formation for this fixture hasn't crossed his mind.

He said: "I won't be changing formation for this game or going more defensive you could say.

"Don't get me wrong, I respect Blackpool and they've done a great job so far but I back our players completely.

"We believe in the way we play and we want to test ourselves against the best in the league (Blackpool), playing our brand of football.

"So we won't be changing anything and we will be sticking to our game plan, but we will definitely have an understanding of what Blackpool may do in the fixture, so we will be adaptable."

KO: Saturday (3:00 pm), (A).