Whitby’s vital game will be a Christmas cracker

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WHITBY Town take on fellow strugglers Buxton tomorrow, with just four points seperating the two sides, as they battle to remain in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier, writes Andrew Snaith.

Darren Williams’ men are still without a home league win after throwing away a 3-0 lead against Nantwich at the Turnbull, nearly two weeks ago.

The former Sunderland star says steps have been taken to prevent that happening again: “We haven’t dwelled on it, but we have touched base and we have gone through things that went on throughout the game, particularly, second half.

“If we’re in a similar situation, I think you’ll see a completely different attitude and if that attitude’s not how we want it to be, obviously things will be changed.

“We can’t reflect too much on the negatives, we’ve had negatives all season.

“My thoughts and David Campbell’s thoughts are to concentrate on the positives and keep the lads up.

“I don’t think I’d have done things differently- it was the same team that went out first half and absolutely annihilated Nantwich.”

The Blues were frustrated last weekend when the scheduled trip to basement club Burscough was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Williams added: “I got the lads in Saturday and we had a training session - albeit indoors - but it was good to keep the lads together and keep the morale going.

“We were disappointed the game was off Saturday.

“We had it in our minds that we wanted to make amends for the week before.”

The Seasiders will be without highly-rated centre-half Kev Burgess who starts a two-match suspension, with Ibby Hassan set to replace him in a straight swap.

Williams sees it as a chance for 23-year-old Hassan to get back into form.

“It’s a big blow for us - Kevin’s been one of the most consistent players and he will be missed.

“You can look at other formats and other scenarios, but we don’t want to complicate it too much.

“It gives Ibby an opportunity to get in there, get the shirt and hopefully, hold on to it.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Buxton parted company with long-serving manager John Reed by mutual consent last month, despite him taking the Derbyshire outfit to the Evo-Stik Premier play-off final in 2007 and top-eight finishes in the past two seasons.

Former Hull City and Doncaster Rovers midfielder Scott Maxfield has since taken over but the Peak District side remain third from bottom.

If results go Town’s way, they can go within four points of safety and Williams is in no doubt as to the game’s importance, stressing: “It’s massive.

“If we go into Saturday positive, if we come away with three points, then it takes us within a point of Buxton.

“If we beat Buxton it puts pressure on them - they’re looking over their shoulder and it gives us that momentum to go forward again.

“We know where we can get to and we know what our capabilities are.”

Kick-off in Town’s last game before Christmas is 3pm with admission still just £8 for adults, £5 concessions and £2 under 16s.

The Burscough fixture will now take place on Saturday 28 January, with the Kendal Town home tie originally set for that date, now pencilled in for Saturday 14 January.