New-look Blues face Chester challenge

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Whitby Town host reformed giants Chester on Saturday, desperate to pick up points against one of the Evo-Stik Premier’s title chasers, writes Andrew Snaith.

At the time of going to press, player-manager Darren Williams is in negotiations with a prolific striker to add much-needed firepower, in a week that has seen the signing of former Port Vale winger Jeff Smith (31).

Williams believes a stronger squad makes for better performances.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “It’s a good thing to have competition for places and it’s something we haven’t had for a little bit.

“We’ve got people competing now and working hard for their place, before you could’ve possibly picked a side each week.”

“Every shirt’s up for grabs now.”

The second-bottom Seasiders are seven points adrift of safety and still yet to win a league game at the Turnbull Ground.

In contrast, Chester are second from top and are unbeaten at home, despite dropping points to Yorkshire sides Bradford Park Avenue and Frickley Athletic in their last two Evo-Stik outings.

Formed last year from the ashes of the former Chester City club, Chester FC won the Evo-Stik First Division North at the first attempt, reaching 97 points, but only seeing off second-placed Skelmersdale United on goal difference.

Estimates range from 300 to 800 as to the size of the Cheshire side’s support this weekend, meanwhile Williams has his own message for Whitby’s fans: “We’ve got to bring a striker in, I think everyone realises that.

“Andy Campbell is loaned out and carrying a bit of an injury as well.

“We’ve not got a proven striker in our ranks, but it is something we are working on.

“I believe we will have someone in before Saturday.”

Campbell is due for an MRI scan of injured knee ligaments, while Dave McTiernan also missed out on Tuesday with a long-running groin injury – physio Kenny Bolton rates arguably Town’s best performer this season at 50/50 to make Saturday’s game.

However, fellow midfielder Lewis Hawkins, currently on work experience from Hartlepool United, should return to the squad, after being called into Pool’s reserve side midweek.

Defender Ibrahim Hassan will be back in contention to give Williams what he calls a “nice headache” with Alex White doing well at centre-back against Ferriby.

Clearly the upbeat Blues’ boss believes a goalscorer is one of the final pieces in the jigsaw.

He added: “In two of our last three games, the performance has been there, we just haven’t had the end product.”

Kick-off at the Turnbull Ground is the usual 3pm, with admission remaining just £8 adults, £5 concessions and £2 under 16s.

There is a dominoes drive on Friday (11 Nov) at 8pm in the club house.