Hassan: ‘It’s vital Whitby Town stay up’

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WHITBY Town look for their first-ever win over giants FC United of Manchester this Saturday (4 Feb) with defender Ibby Hassan stating it’s games like this which show relegation would be a huge blow.

The supporters-run club, who played in front of 1,800 people at Bury’s Gigg Lane over the weekend, routinely bring several hundred travelling fans and attracted a four-figure crowd to the Turnbull Ground in October 2008.

And with four wins and three draws against the Seasiders, seventh-placed United will provide formidable opposition, but Hassan is looking forward to it.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “We’re still very confident, despite our last result, as we have turned a corner and we are all pulling in the right direction.

“FC are always a good test and it’s great to have big crowds at the Turnbull, like the ones they bring with them.

“That’s why it’s so important we stay in this league.”

Five points seperate second-bottom Whitby from basement-side Burscough, with the Linnets now back playing at their Victoria Park ground, following a nine-month absence.

Town lost out 2-1 to Marine last time out, with the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled trip to West Lancashire, meaning the Red Rebels visit will be the Blues’ fourth successive home clash.

Hassan, rejuvenated at right-back under Darren Williams, revealed he was disappointed a frozen pitch put paid to the Burscough shoot-out.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t play Burscough as we were very confident we’d get a result, but we’ll approach the FC game with the same attitude,” he said.

“I think it will show just how far the team’s come in a few months and we’re all up for it.”

Karl Marginson’s FC United are four points off the play-offs with a game in hand and a superior goal difference to Marine, in fifth.

They’ve five wins from their last seven outings and saw off second-placed Hednesford 2-0 on Saturday, thanks to second-half goals from Matt Wolfenden and Mike Norton.

Only leaders Chester can top United’s 58 strikes in the Evo-Stik Premier so far this season, with Wolfenden and the division’s fourth top-scorer Norton, netting 24 between them.

However, they’re no mugs at the other end with three clean sheets in a row.

Whitby groundsman Eric Wilson may well need some ice-busting sheets of his own for the Turnbull pitch with temperatures set to hit minus four tonight.

Supporters are urged to keep in touch via Whitby Town but if the weather does stay fine, kick-off will be the usual 3pm, with admission just £8 adults, £5 concessions and £2 under 16s.

The Blues can get out of the bottom two for the first time since October if results go their way, after third-bottom Buxton lost 3-1 at Rushall Olympic.

Town face back-to-back away trips within two days next week when they travel to Derbyshire outfit Matlock Town a week on Saturday (11 Feb) and visit United’s play-off rivals, sixth-placed Bradford Park Avenue, the following Monday evening.