Skipper’s tribute to in-form team-mates

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WHITBY Town skipper Mark Robinson is delighted to be in one of the NPL’s form sides and has paid tribute to his team-mates ahead of Saturday’s scheduled trip to Grantham.

And despite the League Cup exit at Farsley last week, Robinson is desperate for a game on Saturday (19 Jan).

“I know we had a bit of a slip up in midweek, but hopefully that was maybe a bit of a blessing in disguise, knowing that we’d have to put that right in the next league game,” he said.

“We spoke, at length, about the defeat. The game was a bit flat, we went in maybe under-estimating them.

“In any cup game, you see when a so-called lesser team comes up against a better team they tend to raise their game and we thought we could roll them over a bit.

“We spoke about results others have had and looked at our points and we really think we can be in the shake-up, come the end of the season.”

The former Hartlepool United defender believes it’s the increased attacking threat Town now carry, with recent signing Craig Farrell (eight goals in six games) and strike-partner Graeme Armstrong (five goals in three) that’s led to their six-match unbeaten league run.

“In the past, we’ve relied a lot on penalties and set-pieces”, he said.

“I know Nathan [Mulligan] - when he played up there- chipped in with quite a few goals, but we did struggle to score in open play and that’s ended up with us drawing games we should’ve won and holding on in the last few minutes.

“I’ve spoken to a few people - friends, family, football fans in general - and I’ve always said you’re only as good as your front two, or three.

“I wouldn’t swap ours for any in the league, at the minute.

“As a whole, we are tightening up a little bit and creating chances for the forwards and fortunately for us, they’re sticking them away.

“We hope that continues.”

Whitby are seeking to defend a 100% record against Lincolnshire outfit Grantham, who were promoted back to the Evo-Stik NPL Premier in April, as First Division South champions.

Grantham Town, once managed by ex-player Martin O’Neill, have reached the FA Cup Third Round on three occasions, including a 2-0 home defeat to Jack Charlton’s Middlesbrough in 1974. However the East Midlands club are currently struggling, fourth-from-bottom, five points behind The Blues, having played four games more.

The Seasiders did the double over them in 2006-07, after Aron Wilford, Dave McTiernan and Tom Raw struck in a 3-1 victory at the Turnbull and a 3-2 last-day success at Grantham followed. Blues will be looking to repeat the feat, this season, following a 2-0 home win in October, with top-scorer Mulligan twice on target.