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MANAGER NOTES | Ashforth gives his thoughts ahead of today’s game

By Michael Barker

Market Frayton are today’s visitors

Today we entertain Market Drayton and we wish the management, club officials and supporters a warm welcome for today’s game. Market Drayton are in a similar position to ourselves, currently
3 points ahead of us with a game in hand, so today’s game is important to both teams.

In our last game here at Shawbridge we played Skelmersdale and narrowly won with a late Max Hazeldine goal. After numerous chances we deserved the win and we should have won by more.

However the toughness of this league shows as Skelmersdale are bottom and were certainly not an easy team to beat. After the game they partied company with
Dave Powell who I have known for a long time. His disappointment showed when I spoke to him after the match and I hope he gets back into the game quickly.

After the Skelmersdale game Steven Rigby informed us that he would be signing for Droylsden. We spoke to Steven and his father after the Widnes game as the approach had been made, and they informed me of a figure that would make it impossible for him to turn down. But to be fair to him he promised me that he would play against Southport and Skelmersdale whatever the offer. He did exactly that and then when the offer was officially made he decided to leave and went with our best wishes. I think any player would have found it difficult to turn down.

We replaced Steven quickly by bringing in Jack Fleming from Skelmersdale. Jack is a player who I have kept an eye on and I thought he impressed against us, so we signed him and I am sure he will fit into our dressing room quickly.

We then faced two difficult away trips, first to 2nd in the league Runcorn and then to 5th placed Prescot.

We scored in both games but conceded 6 and that is something that we couldn’t do if we wanted to pick up any points against two teams who are likely to be in and around the play offs.

In both games we felt like we had opportunities to take something from the game, but it didn’t happen and that makes today’s game even more important.

For those that watch my interviews after the game you will have seen how upset I was after the Runcorn match. I don’t often get annoyed with referees and certainly not with the opposition, but they used every trick in the book to disrupt how we play and I believe they crossed the line.

Whereas if you look at Prescot the way they conducted themselves was first class.

Our discipline has improved drastically and also we receive high marks for the technical area for the way we conduct ourselves. I know it doesn’t win football matches and I also know it doesn’t win leagues, but we are representing the club and that’s why it’s important that we behave in the correct manner throughout games.

We’ve picked up a few injuries lately.

Antoine was injured for the Prescot game, and I know a few of you wondered why he wasn’t used from the bench. We tried him in the warm up and he wasn’t fit enough so we looked after him.

Jonah Gosling picked up an ankle injury against Runcorn and he could be out for another week or so.

During the Prescot game both Max and Josh Gregory picked up injuries and unfortunately, certainly in the case of Josh Gregory, these look like they could be a few weeks at a minimum.

This leaves us a bit light in the squad and we are trying hard to bring in a player or two to bolster the squad. We need the right player though as there is no need to bring in players that aren’t as good as what we already have.

Football is about opinions and some have said we need a forward. The problem is that centre forwards who are prolific demand big money and I am not willing to sacrifice other squad members for the sake of one player, so we will stick to our wage structure and try to get goals throughout the team and play attacking football that will create chances. With Max Hazeldine, James Sloane and Jonah Gosling we have three forwards that I trust in and they will get goals for us. It’s just a matter of them working hard and taking their chances when they come. Obviously if
a player comes available who can add to what we have then we will take them. Clitheroe have been fortunate to have Gonzales and Willoughby in recent seasons, we just have to try find our own gem now.

Enjoy the game, Lee Ashforth

Updated 14:32 - 1 Dec 2018 by Michael Barker

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