Blues desperate to end worst run in 32 years

WHITBY Town travel to relatively-nearby North Ferriby United in the Doodson Sports League Cup Third Round this Tuesday (8 Nov), hoping to pick up their second win over the East Yorkshire side this season, writes Andrew Snaith.

Town defeated Ferriby 2-1 in the FA Cup on 1 October after Jake Faichney netted a late winner.

However, since then, the Seasiders have suffered six successive defeats - their worst run since 1979.

Back then, losses to Consett, Shildon, Lancaster City, South Bank, Tow Law Town and Middlesbrough Reserves hampered boss Don Burlueaux - Whitby’s sixth manager in four years during a turbulent spell at the club.

Things have been just as dramatic over the past four years with seven men taking the reigns since Lee Nogan’s resignation in October 2007.

Understandably then, current player-manager Darren Williams is keen to strengthen his squad.

The ex-Hartlepool United and Sunderland star is hoping to have “at least one or two new faces” for the trip to Ferriby, who appointed Billy Heath as their new boss, just two days after their cup exit at the Turnbull Ground.

Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “We’ve been working hard this week, obviously the situation with the seven day rule has put us a week behind where we wanted to be.

“It’s apparent we need to score some goals and I think it’s apparent we also need to be a lot stronger defensively, as a team.

“I’m not solely blaming the defence - at the end of the day, there’s 11 players out there who need to defend and 11 players who need to produce goals and they’re just not doing that, so there’s a variety of areas we need to look at.”

In contrast, Heath has enjoyed five wins in a row, his side scoring 18 goals in the process, with just a single defeat at league leaders Northwich Victoria, on his debut.

Their latest victory came at the weekend when Alex Davidson’s seven-minute hat-trick sunk First Division North Salford City in the FA Trophy, with Town’s conquerors Mickleover, plus Kendal, Ashton and Lincoln United all put to the sword.

The Blues will be without defender Ibby Hassan for Tuesday’s trip with work commitments, but fellow centre-half Kev Burgess returns after serving a one-match ban on Saturday.

Winger Billy Blackford was set to resume training on Monday night and may figure, especially with Dave McTiernan likely to be rested after playing through a long-running groin injury.

There’s also set to be a number of debutants and Williams feels a mix of ages is likely.

“It’s not solely going to be experience,” he said. “However we’re going to have to bring in some experience and proven goalscorers or proven players, we will be looking to freshen things up.

“We’re going to look at the situation and whether it’s viable to bring in players who are playing at a higher level, maybe via loan deals with Football League clubs.

“But obviously there’ll be players, who maybe are playing at a lower level, that can make that step up.”

If scores are level after 90 minutes, there’ll be extra-time and if necessary, penalties. Ferriby dumped Town out of the League Cup at this stage last season, when Chris Batchelor netted in a 3-1 defeat.

Kick-off at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium is 7.45pm, with admission set at £9 adults and £5 concessions.

Blues return to home action after a four-week absence on Saturday (12 Nov) when high-flying Chester FC visit the Turnbull Ground in the Evo-Stik Premier.