AFTER five successive defeats, Whitby Town have an early-season six-pointer on Saturday when they visit Derbyshire outfit Mickleover Sports, writes Andrew Snaith.
Promoted from what’s now the Evo-Stik First Division South in 2010, Sports were beaten twice last season by the Seasiders and drew 1-1 at the Turnbull Ground in August this season when Billy Blackford scored.
Blackford will miss out with a collar bone injury at the weekend, but is set to travel with the team and returns to training on Monday.
Player-manager Darren Williams knows just how important the clash could be to the second-bottom Blues, who trail Sports by seven points and two places, with a game in hand.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “It’s important that there’s not a great gap created between us and getting out of the situation we’re in.
“Three points would be vital for us and we’re going in with the right frame of mind, we discussed different points in the game at training.
“We’re going to go there and play with freedom, like we did in the first half last Saturday.
“The lads played some great stuff and I think we’ve just got to maintain that throughout the 90 minutes.”
Williams and assistant Dave Campbell have been busy working on bringing in new additions this week and one of those in contention for Saturday will be popular defender Ashley Lyth.
The local lad, a former Leicester City full-back, left the club seven weeks ago after a dispute with former boss Tommy Cassidy.
Williams was pleased to see the 28-year-old back, however and hopes there’ll be others following soon.
“It was good to see him back, it was disappointing when he had to leave before, but he came back for training and I’m probably looking to include him in the squad for Saturday,” he said.
“Fingers crossed we’re hoping to get one or two in - if not, we’ve a squad ready for Saturday anyway.
“A couple of the lads were involved in important games at the weekend and we didn’t want to disrupt anything with any club or player, by taking their minds off the games they had, so we waited until Monday morning.”
As a result, the club may be frustrated by the seven-day ruling which requires clubs to give seven day’s notice when signing players, though this can be waived by the selling team.
Former Sunderland star Williams was appointed alongside Campbell and the experienced Dennis Wheeler to keep the squad united at a testing time, but the 34-year-old isn’t afraid to bring in newcomers across the team, if necessary.
He stated: “We need to score goals, we need more creativity coming forward, possibly down the left-hand side.
“We’ve got the likes of Dave McTiernan and Lewis (Hawkins) on loan from Hartlepool in the centre of midfield.
“However they’re both very similar players, so maybe, (we’d be better) having a midfielder who can sit in there, get hold of the ball and try to build up play from there.
“I think they’re important positions at the moment. We know not to take away from the fact that we have conceded goals as well, so there is something in mind of keeping as many clean sheets as possible, but also the main importance is getting goals.”
Dick Pratley’s Mickleover threw away a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3, after conceding three second-half goals to title-chasing Chorley on Saturday, while in the West Midlands, Town went down 3-1 at high-flying Hednesford, who are 12 months unbeaten at home in the league.
It was Williams’ first match in charge of the Blues and he insists every game is a learning curve.
He revealed: “We try and take something from every game, regardless of performance.
“You do learn a lot - that’s why I took the option not to be involved, myself, in the starting eleven - to take the opportunity to see the lads from the sideline, take in what people are doing and see what needs changing, really.”
Kick-off at the Mickleover Sports Club is the usual 3pm, with a supporters’ coach leaving the Turnbull Ground at 9.30am and seats still just £10 each. Admission is adults £9, concessions £5 and under 16s £1.
Blues are away again on Tuesday night at North Ferriby United in the Dootson Sports League Cup Third Round with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Their next home game is a first-ever meeting with Chester FC, the following Saturday (12 November).