ASHINGTON CFC skipper Liam Atkin has no doubts about the priorities as the curtain goes up to herald another campaign on Saturday.
The Colliers begin their season with a home tie against Sunderland RCA in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup which Atkin admits will be ‘tough’.
But whilst acknowledging the massive strides the Woodhorn Lane outfit have made since he joined the club following the appointment of management team Gary Middleton, Neil Winskill and Ritchie Bond in 2008, the 25-year-old kows exactly what is now required.
“We are looking to make progress on last season – but to be honest there are no prizes for finishing fifth in the league and we need to start to win some silverware,” he said.
“We are all pushing in the same direction and all wanting the same outcome.
“It’s great having good runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase like we did last term, but we need to get to a final – and win it.
“As a group we are good at performing against the big teams, but we have got to cut out our sloppiness against the so called lesser sides.
“This season it is going to be a strong league with Durham City, Darlington FC 1883 and Team Northumbria included, whilst every side in the division has strengthened.”
Injuries apart, Atkin, pictured, – a football coach for the Newcastle United Foundation – has been happy with the warm-up programme.
He added: “The manager has brought in some top players like Phil Cave, Gareth Williams, Paul Antony and Josh Gray.
“We have looked solid and I believe we are playing the right way.
“We have worked on various formations and I reckon we’ll be a hard nut to crack.”
Atkin also believes that the Colliers need to stop conceding ‘sloppy’ goals whilst putting their chances away at the other end.
“We need to see teams out and put the game to bed,” he said.
“We have a cracking squad but it’s keeping everyone fit and unfortunately injuries do occur.
“We have had rotten luck on that score over the past 18 months but the players are looking forward to the kick-off and it will be tough against RCA.”
In the event of Saturday’s game ending in a draw, the replay will take place at Meadow Park on Tuesday, August 14, with a 7.30pm start.