Whitby Town chairman insists: ‘We can beat drop’

WHITBY Town player-manager Darren Williams is hoping the errors he’s spotted on DVD this week will help the Blues tighten up at the back on Boxing Day, writes Andrew Snaith.

The Seasiders face old FA Vase adversaries North Ferriby United on the back of conceding nine goals in two games, which leaves them searching for that elusive first home league win of the season.

The former Sunderland star viewed last weekend’s 4-3 reverse to relegation rivals Buxton for a second time, then went back to the shock 5-4 loss against Nantwich Town, in which Town threw away a 3-0 lead.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “I’ve picked up on a few points that are very very vital to us and we’ll be working on this week.

“I’ve told the lads whether training’s going to be boring is irrelevant - I’ve highlighted areas that we need to work on and if we can’t bring people in then we’ll work on those points, so they’re strengthened up until we’re not conceding as many goals as we are.

“The good thing about having DVDs is that people can’t hide - when you’re in normal play, it’s difficult to pin down and highlight things straight away, but there are points I have spoken to the lads about in training.”

The 34-year-old boss, who’ll again be without suspended centre-half Kev Burgess on Monday, admitted he’d made an approach for a defender this past week but missed out, adding: “We caught it at the back end of him already agreeing to go somewhere else, which was unfortunate.

“We’re always on the look out - looking at our past games, it’s something we need to strengthen up, whether that’s bringing someone in or focusing on a lot of work, then we’re going to have to do that.

“We’ve got a lot of big games and North Ferriby is one of them - obviously we’re looking to kick-start our festive period.”

Williams may well start himself in midfield after revealing it was something being considered by himself and assistants Dave Campbell and Dennis Wheeler, against a side Town meet for the third time since October.

Blues knocked Ferriby, now managed by ex-Frickley and Bridlington Town chief Billy Heath, out of the FA Cup at the second qualifying round stage, after goals from on-loan Callum Hassan and local lad Jake Faichney secured a 2-1 victory.

It’s Whitby’s only success at the Turnbull Ground this season and the East Yorkshire outfit took a measure of revenge less than six weeks later by sneaking a 1-0 win at their Church Road home, in the Doodson Sport League Cup.

Only Mickleover’s Alex Steadman has scored more goals than Ferriby talisman Gary Bradshaw in the Evo-Stik Premier.

The former Cheltenham marksman, who celebrated his 200th strike for the in-form village team earlier this season, has netted on 12 occasions so far, but missed a penalty in their autumn cup exit.

However in the league, second-bottom Town are eight points adrift of safety and chairman Graham Manser has asked locals to turn out in numbers ahead of the club’s first Boxing Day clash in three years.

In 2009, over a month without football hit the club hard following snow storms, with last season seeing nearly three weeks lost.

Mr Manser said: “The club appreciates that we are in deep relegation trouble, but the new management team have brought in new players and all the players, management and committee are totally committed to staying up.

“We would like to appeal to the town to support us in force on Boxing Day, to help us get our first home victory and help us push on to save ourselves.”

As well as Burgess, the Blues will again be without long-term casualties Dave McTiernan and Andy Campbell, but goalkeeper Nick Liversedge is expected to return and striker Jamie Clarke should shrug off a painful arm injury, after bending his elbow the wrong way during Saturday’s defeat.

Mr Manser has also thanked fund-raising supporter Andy Lever, who is walking some 15 miles from his home in Loftus to the game, adding: “It’s a very good effort. We’re all behind him, I hope he makes it in time for kick off, so he can lead the team out.”

Sponsor forms are available in the club house and club shop at Whitby Town Football Club.

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

Fixtures are still being rearranged and January is now as follows for the Blues:

Mon 2 Frickley Athletic (away),

Sat 7 Chasetown (home),

Sat 14 Kendal Town (home),

Sat 21 Marine (home),

Sat 28 Burscough (away).

The Bradford Park Avenue away tie, originally re-scheduled for Monday 30 January, is now set for Monday 13 February.

There is a dominoes drive at the club house on Friday (23 Dec) at 8pm.