Southport fitness levels impress manager Liam Watson

Liam Watson
Watson is in his second spell managing Southport

Southport manager Liam Watson says his players' fitness levels have impressed him this season.

Port are challenging for the Blue Square Bet Premier play-offs, having avoided relegation last season.

The Sandgrounders beat Ebbsfleet 2-1 on Saturday with a late Tony Gray penalty at Stonebridge Road.

"Although we're part-time, I haven't seen a team that is better than us in terms of fitness," Watson told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"It's a credit not only to the players, but also the coaching staff. It's no surprise we do score so many last minute goals.

"No-one would have said at the beginning of the season that in March we'd be fourth in the Conference with a realistic chance of the play-offs.

"If you get in the play-offs you have a one in four chance of getting back into the Football League. Southport were replaced in the league by Wigan, who are now a Premier League club.

"But it's been a long time to be in a position where we're challenging to get back in the League."