Trophy heroes will set tough challenge

WHITBY Town host FA Trophy stars Chasetown, who remain the only Evo-Stik League side left in the competition after overcoming Blue Square Premier Grimsby Town, last weekend, writes Andrew Snaith.

Charlie Blakemore’s men were good value for their win, even managing to miss a penalty in the 2-1 success and Whitby boss Tommy Cassidy thinks they’ll provide tough opposition on Saturday.

He told the Whitby Gazette: “We’ve just got to get on with it.

“We have a very difficult game the way Chasetown are playing at the moment.

“I know a little bit about them, we have a connection with Grimsby and got a small report about them.

“The main thing is they’re a strong side and a good unit.”

Cassidy will welcome back defender Ibby Hassan, who hasn’t played since November due to a combination of a three-match ban and the weather, but may be without another centre-half in Kev Burgess.

Burgess strained his back at work earlier this week, though manager Cassidy is “hopeful” the former Darlington man can recover in time.

Cassidy will be buoyed by a clean bill of health for striker Davey Southern and midfielder Tony Hackworth who have both overcome knee injuries after extensive work with club physio Kenny Bolton.

Ged Dalton will also be back to full fitness and midfielder Jimmy Beadle has had the cast removed from his broken arm, so may also be in contention.

Meanwhile, Cassidy has had his players training three times this week and explained his simple method for improving when the competitive action returns.

“You’ve got to get your basics right – passing, movement, talking to each other, first touch etc,” he said.

“If you can get the passing and movement right, the team will improve, but they’re working hard, which I’m pleased about.”

Returning to tomorrow’s match, the Blues’ boss added: “I know if everyone’s at their peak we have a chance, but it’s going to be difficult.”

Chairman Graham Manser has appealed for fans to show up in numbers to help the club, who currently sit fifth-bottom after a number of postponements, stave off any relegation worries and avoid any financial worries from the lack of regular home games.

He told the club podcast: “I was disappointed with the crowd against Worksop considering it was a bank holiday, we really need more support coming through the gate.”

Last weekend’s postponed home match with Buxton was also a shock to the chairman, who reflected on the Turnbull pitch and the referee’s choice to veto the game: “There were one or two boggy areas, but I would suggest about 90% of it was fine. I thought it was a harsh decision.”

Kick-off at the Turnbull Ground is 3pm with admission the usual £7.50 adults, £4.50 concessions and £2 under 18s.

The Blues’ scheduled midweek trip to Frickley Athletic, will now take place on Tuesday 1 February.

Town host their banquet and ball featuring various turns and live music, as well as a four-course meal at the Pavilion on Friday 11 February.

Three hundred tickets have been snapped up for the event, which was originally scheduled for the Christmas holiday, but some limited places are available from Martin Hart on (01947) 601599.