Atkinson admits it will take time

A LITTLE more love and understanding will improve his Blyth Spartans side, says manager Paddy Atkinson.

Atkinson saw his side draw 1-1 with Nantwich Town at Croft Park on Saturday.

Centre back Wayne Buchanan had put Spartans ahead in the first half only for Sean Cooke to equalise for the visitors with quarter of an hour remaining.

“We are coming together more as a group, stronger as a unit, but as we are rebuilding at the moment it will take time for understanding to develop more through the team,” said Atkinson.

“A draw was a fair result. Witton and Nantwich are the best sides we’ve played in the league so far.

“Their goal was a cracker and although we pressed in the final stages a point each was reasonable. They had a better shape than us.

“Young Marcus Maddison did well on his debut but he needs to develop an understanding of how our players play, and vice versa.

“He’s definitely quick but needs to think better at times about when to release the ball.

“In the matches he plays for Newcastle Reserves the ball does the work, but not at our level.

“We also missed the passing ability of Neal Hooks in midfield on Saturday.”

With Ryan McGorrigan suspended for three matches, opportunity knocks for Phil Airey to stake his claim.

Looking ahead, Atkinson said: “Phil could get his chance starting midweek at AFC Fylde and then at home on Saturday against AFC United of Manchester.

“They look like hard games on paper but every game is a challenge in this league, but our fitness is better now and, as I said, we are stronger as a unit.”

As the rebuilding continues the Blyth boss will be busy again this week.

“I’ll be talking to a couple of players,” he said.

“We need to look to improve on the wings and be more penetrative up front.

“One of the problems I’ve had, though, is clubs putting their players on contract once we’ve put in our seven days notice of approach.”

No doubt Atkinson’s resolute determination to continuously improve is a quality he seeks to see replicated by his players themselves.