WHITBY Town battle bottom-club Burscough on Saturday (28 Jan) in the very epitome of the term ‘six-pointer’ writes Andrew Snaith.
There may be a debut for striker Nathan Mulligan (25) who signed from Northern League First Division Norton & Stockton Ancients.
The former Darlington frontman, who started out as a Middlesbrough junior, has 12 goals so far this season.
Mulligan says he’s the “exact opposite of that big target man” and can also play on either wing or “in the hole” behind the forwards.
He added: “I think my best attributes are my speed and being clever on the ball.
On the Blues, he revealed: “I’ve always followed them because they’re a big team.
“I’ve got six or seven friends there - Jamie Clarke was at Norton with me last season.
“I was always involved with the results and now, as a player, I can be involved with the result in a different way and try to improve them, “I “I totally think we can definitely stay up this year, one hundred per cent.”
Another upbeat player is last weekend’s man of the match centre-half Alex White, who’s recently moved across from left-back under Darren Williams and enjoys playing alongside ex-Blyth team-mate Andy Leeson.
White told the Whitby Gazette: “It’s been good, it’s a change - I was a bit rusty when I first went into centre-back.
“The last time I’d played there was about 40 games ago, but it’s a good change and I enjoy it.
“Obviously Leeson has got a lot of experience and he’s good to play alongside. He’s great in the air, so it’s great to play alongside him.”
Two mistakes at the back cost the Seasiders against Marine last time around, but like Williams, White doesn’t feel goalkeeper Nick Liversedge deserves the blame.
He said: “It’s one of those things in football - the weather played a part with the second one, but the first one was just very unlucky, you can’t really do anything about that.
“He’s a good keeper - he knows himself that he’s a good keeper. He’s been doing well recently and it’s one of those things in football that you can’t help.”
The 23-year-old is under no illusions of how important Saturday’s trip to West Lancashire is, but retains full confidence in himself and his team-mates.
“It’s probably one of the biggest games of the season up-to now, but I don’t think there’s anyone in this league that we should fear.
“There’s been a few fresh faces at the club with Jimmy (Beadle) coming back and players like Jeff Smith coming into the team, it all helps to give you a boost.
“Appo (Andy Appleby) and Clarkey - players like that have come in and done well - it’s good to play in the same team as them.”
Physio Kenny Bolton has been treating boss Williams for a hamstring injury - which may keep him out of the trip - and Clarke will have a late fitness test on a dead leg.
Meanwhile, winger Billy Blackford has joined Guisborough Town, with his manager stressing the measure was just for the former Hartlepool youngster “to get some games under his belt”.
Bolton also confirmed defender Kev Burgess is back training after a wrist strain and may come into contention, for the first time in eight weeks.
History suggests it’ll be an uphill battle with just four Whitby wins in 19 clashes between the sides, since 1981.
Five points separate the clubs with the Linnets holding a game in hand, but with Town just two points adrift of third-bottom Buxton, a win could take them out of the bottom-two for the first time since October.
White thinks the Blues’ travelling support at Skelmersdale, who host Burscough’s home games, could be the difference and says the spirit remains strong in the dressing room.
“It’s great that we get support like we do off the fans, they always get behind us and that’s a fact.
“The lads are all confident in training, the way we pass the ball and the way we play.
“The crack with the lads is absolutely brilliant. It’s good to get that back, because at times, it wasn’t there.”
Kick-off at Skelmersdale is 3pm, with admission at the West Lancashire College Stadium £8 and £4.
A supporters’ coach leaves the Turnbull Ground at 9am.