AFTER the recent weekend that saw his club exit from two cup competitions in the space of 72 hours, Blyth Spartans skipper Wayne Buchanan has called on his team-mates to remain positive.
The recent 4-1 defeat in the FA Trophy at Witton Albion was followed by an FA Cup exit at the hands of Blue Square North side Workington just two days later.
But Buchanan insisted there are better times ahead.
“We have to realise we are all in this together and the spirit is good,” he said.
“Every player knows that you need your team-mates if we are to do well and there’s a trust that is being built up here.
“As an individual you can’t just say if I play well that’s enough, if you are going to be a star it’s your team-mates that are going to help you be that.
“The likes of Joe Kendrick, Sam Hodgson and Craig Farrell have all played out of position to help us through a tough time and they deserve all the credit in the world for doing that.”
Spartans’ form this season has been inconsistent and they sit just above mid-table in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League having won four of their eight games.
But Buchanan feels they are still in a good position to challenge for an immediate return to the Blue Square North, albeit once some key players return from injuries.
The likes of Carl Jones, Robbie Dale and Jordan Mellish have all faced spells on the sidelines, and in the FA Cup defeat at Workington, midfielders Lee Mason and Tom Berj were taken off before the interval.
But Buchanan feels its only a matter of time before things click into place.
The big defender said: “Yes we have had lads out, but credit to the boys who have come in and worked hard.
“The league is the main thing for us and has to be. The objective is to get back into the Blue Square North.
“Before the two cup games we were only four points off the play-off places and six points off top, so we have to make sure we stay in touch.
“We know we still haven’t played to a consistent level so there has to be more to come.
“The team is still gelling together and when the lads return from injury they will boost us and take us forward again.”
Goals certainly haven’t been a problem for Spartans, they are highest scorers in the league with 20.
But there is one phrase Buchanan wants to exclude from the vocabulary of the club – ‘what if?’.
He added: “We have to be positive and look forward, we can’t be thinking negative anymore and saying what if this goal hadn’t went in or what if the referee had made a different decision.
“We have a good, talented squad here and we will get it right. There’s young lads come in and done well and they’ll benefit from the experience they’re getting.
“We can regroup before we go to Buxton on Saturday with a bit of a break behind us and we can say these injuries may happen but we will do what we can do to get through them and the young lads have time behind them now.”
Since the start of the season it seems generally accepted that the current Spartans squad is an inexperienced one and certainly manager Tommy Cassidy has spoken about bringing in more experienced players to help the younger players in the squad.
Buchanan agrees with the former Northern Ireland international and feels the experienced players all have key roles to play if the season is to be a successful one for everyone at Croft Park.
He said: “We have to encourage the younger players and not get on their backs if things aren’t going right.”
“We need to get them in the right positions at the right time and make sure they are doing what we need them too.
“The likes of Joe, Craig and myself have been around the game for a long time and we can use this to help the young lads.”