Whitby Town host Norfolk outfit Kings Lynn on Saturday (Dec 6), bidding to end a run of four successive defeats and kick-start their season.
The Seasiders are midway between the NPL Premier play-offs and the division’s bottom four, but boss Darren Williams feels there’s still a long way to go.
“It’s still early doors.” he cautions.
“We’re not halfway through the season yet.
“Going into the new year, we want to be in the top 10 to give ourselves a chance of making the play-offs.”
Town, who are currently 14th, have improved continually under the former Sunderland defender, escaping relegation on the last day, in his first season, followed by finishes of 12th and 9th.
The Blues have defender Kev Burgess on the brink of a return, with Richard Pell making his comeback from injury in midweek. A third centre-half, Lee Bullock, is sidelined until mid-late January.
Striker Craig Farrell has been struggling with a long-term hip problem, which was scanned a fortnight ago.
“It’s been a tough start- we’ve fared quite well for the injuries we’ve had,” Williams adds.
“We’re looking for the second half of the season to be more positive, to improve on the points we’ve picked up so far.
“When people start to gel together, it’ll get better. Leading up to Christmas time-new year, we need to be there or thereabouts.”
The Blues were last December’s team of the month and ended 2013 in the play-off places following five successive victories.
Williams has brought in 17-year-old centre-half James King and ex-Scarborough striker Lewis Clarkson (21), on loan from Bradford City.
Clarkson missed the first two months of the League One season because of a torn hamstring. He returned to training last month and is steadily regaining his fitness at the Turnbull Ground.
Another forward blighted by injury is newest signing James Brown (27).
Brown came to prominence when at Hartlepool United as Sky’s Pools-supporting Soccer Saturday presenter Jeff Stelling produced a doll of his famous singer namesake whenever he scored. Sadly a persistent knee problem led to his retirement from the full-time game after a spell at Gateshead.
Williams has been tracking the marksman, who he played alongside at Hartlepool, ever since.
Williams told the Whitby Gazette: “My first thought was give us a shout, let us know if you’re interested in coming, which he did.
“We were fighting with four or five teams to get him.
“We think he can make quite an impact when he settles in, though we’ve got to give him a few games to find his feet, coming out of league football, I found you need that.”
Both Brown and Clarkson have shown signs of improvement in the two games they’ve figured in this week. Williams again asked for fans to back the team in Saturday’s Turnbull tussle.
“We’re trying to improve to get the whole of Whitby to get behind us.
“For a footballer, you go out there and if there’s one man and his dog, it’s hard, when you turn up and there’s a bit of a crowd and an atmosphere, it really helps.”
“Not only are we trying to improve the team and improve the club, but we’re looking to improve the attendances as well.”
King’s Lynn, in tenth, have just one win from eight away league games this season.
Kick-off at the Turnbull Ground, on Saturday, is 3pm. Under 18s get in for just £2 and Under 16s, accompanied by paying adults, pay nothing.
There is a dominoes drive tonight (Dec 5) at the Whitby Town club house, starting at 8pm.