THIS Saturday (16 Apr) is Pay What You Want Fans’ Day at Whitby Town, where spectators can hand over whatever sum they wish at the Turnbull Ground, writes Andrew Snaith.
Fans’ favourite, defender Ibby Hassan is calling for a strong turnout as the Blues, who take on Ashton, are still not safe from the dreaded drop.
“The supporters have been fantastic all season,” said Hassan.
“If we can get the same sort of numbers as the Halifax game and a bit of generosity with the buckets going round, it’ll see us right for next season. It’s been tough with all the postponements.”
As for the match itself, Hassan assured fans: “We’ll be up for it, we’ll be up for it.”
Blues boss Tommy Cassidy has challenged his players to copy last week’s performance against Buxton, when relegation rivals Ashton United visit on Saturday.
Cassidy was furious after Wednesday’s 5-1 defeat against champions FC Halifax Town.
He told the Whitby Gazette: “It was a combination of two things, they are a very good side but I’m concerned with my team and we were way short.
“It was embarrassing at times, the goals we gave away with individual mistakes.
“We have four or five players making the same mistakes every week and we got punished for it.
“It’s a big game tomorrow. If we play like we did against Buxton, we will win it, but we must replicate that performance.”
The former Newcastle United star admitted that left-back Alex White was “a big loss” in midweek, but the ex-Stranraer man should be fit for tomorrow’s six-pointer.
It’s the first of two games against closely-placed rivals, with a trip to Mickleover Sports on Tuesday (19 Apr) and Cassidy knows it won’t be easy with both sides in form.
Ashton even beat promotion-chasers Matlock on Monday.
“They’ve gone through a great period and they could be out of trouble at the moment, so for us, it’s a massive game”, said the Blues boss.
“I can’t wait for Saturday, I’m really up for it. Are my players thinking the same? I hope so.”
One of Town’s top players this year has been defender Ibby Hassan who, despite his recent sending off at Kendal, says he’s “enjoying his football”.
“I’ve probably bedded in a bit now, me and Kev Burgess, we’ve got a good understanding with Cammy behind us and the experience of Ash Lyth talking you through it.
“I don’t do much talking, the lads talk me through it and I do the running.”
The Blues triumphed 3-1 in Greater Manchester this past November when Andy Leeson, Chris Batchelor and Andy Campbell grabbed the goals.
But with the Robins scooping five wins out of six in the league, the size of Saturday’s task isn’t lost on the big centre-half, who added: “It’s massive, absolutely massive.
“We’ve beat them once and we can do it again. Last week, we were looking at 12th or 13th in the league and it’s still possible.”
Kick-off at the Turnbull is the usual 3pm, with the finale of the Whitby and district primary schools penalty shoot-out also taking place. Airy Hill and Lythe face off at the interval, with the winner facing Stakesby in the final at full-time.
Then Whitby Wanderers – Town’s Supporters team – take on Spark FC, representing radio station 107 Spark FM, from Sunderland.