Whitby Town boss urges: ‘Back the Blues’

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WHITBY Town player-manager Darren Williams has asked Blues fans to back the club when they face the second of three successive Saturday home games, against Kendal Town this weekend.

The Seasiders are now just seven points from safety, with two games in hand on key relegation rivals after back-to-back wins against Frickley and Chasetown to kick off 2012.

Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “I understand the crowds being low.

“It’s been a very disappointing first half of the season, but I would stress to the fans that the second half of the season won’t be disappointing, by any means.

“We’ve got a lot more about us now, we’re looking a better side and i think it’ll be a good, entertaining game on Saturday.”

Kendal enjoyed a 5-3 victory last weekend at Worksop Town, with frontman Gary McEvatt grabbing a hat-trick as Lee Ashcroft’s men recovered from two goals down and their 4-3 loss, seven days earlier, to basement side Burscough, following a 95th minute own goal.

The Black and Whites also enjoyed a penalty shoot-out success over First Division North neighbours Lancaster City on Tuesday night, despite throwing away a two-goal lead of their own to finish all square at 3-3 after 90 minutes.

The victory takes the Lake District outfit to the Fifth Round stage of the Doodson Sport League Cup and Williams certainly isn’t taking the Cumbrians lightly after their 2-1 win over Whitby in August.

The Blues boss admitted: “Kendal are a good side - we know that - we’ve previously played them.

“But at this point in the season, I believe we are a completely different side to what we were when we played them down in Kendal.

“We’re getting a lot of confidence about ourselves after back-to-back wins and we’re looking to maintain that, for as long as possible.”.

In just the fourth game of the season, the North West club netted a Tom Kilifin winner, nine minutes from time, despite skipper Mark Robinson putting the travelling Blues ahead in the first half.

Kendal currently sit 12th in the Evo-Stik Premier and only two teams in the division have scored more than their 49 league goals, so far this campaign, with top marksman Mark Jackson hitting 10 of those.

However, all is not well at the Lakeside Radio Stadium and this week the club released a statement admitting they’d asked manager Ashcroft to reduce his playing budget, due to a lack of income from their clubhouse.

This follows the news that fifth-bottom Frickley Athletic have also had to slash their spending on player wages after a general drop in funds.

Victory for the Blues and defeat for Buxton, could take them above the Bucks on goal difference and out of the bottom two, for the first time since October.

Whitby physio Kenny Bolton this week confirmed midfielder Dave McTiernan is available for selection after overcoming a long-term groin and back problem.

Winger Billy Blackford and manager Williams are expected to shake off hamstring strains, while Andy Appleby, who netted the second goal in last week’s 2-0 win over Chasetown, is also expected to play, despite a shin complaint.

However, Glenn Hoddle Academy striker Jordan Hugill is again doubtful after a knock to the knee sustained last month, just 15 minutes into his first start for the club.

Highly-rated defender Kev Burgess remains sidelined with a wrist injury and forward Andy Campbell is just hoping to play before the end of the season after major surgery on his knee.

Kick-off at the Turnbull on Saturday is 3pm with admission still only £8 adults, £5 concessions and £2 under 16s.

Whitby complete their series of three next Saturday when fifth-placed Marine are in town. The Blues will be hoping to continue a great record against the Merseyside outfit, after losing just three times in 17 clashes, since 2004.

The Crosby club drew 1-1 at fourth-bottom Stocksbridge at the weekend and lost 4-2 to fellow high-fliers Chorley over New Year, after going into the game with five wins from their previous six.