Ashington boss seeks positive second half of the season

Ashington captain Andrew Johnson. Picture by Ian Appleby -
Ashington captain Andrew Johnson. Picture by Ian Appleby -

Ashington FC manager Steve Harmison issued a directive to his playing squad at the weekend within minutes of Saturday’s derby clash against Bedlington being called off.

The Woodhorn Lane boss has asked his players to be more positive in the second half of the campaign.

He said: “We haven’t really eclipsed the fighting spirit which was evident towards the end of last season and which got us into a feel good factor position.

“However, over the past two games I have seen signs that the atmosphere of last season is returning and we now have to drive that forward and have got to be positive for the second half of the season.

“We are hoping to bring one or two new faces in because we have got two or three games a week now and we need to make sure that we have got fit and able bodies for every game.

“There is undoubted ability in that dressing room – we missed Andrew Johnson at Guisborough in the latter part where we have got the match where we want it, and apart from being captain, Andrew is someone who would have taken the game to them.”

Reflecting on the first half of the campaign, Harmison added: “Has the first half of the season gone the way we wanted? No. Are we trying to put it right? Undoubtedly yes, and not for the want of trying.

“It’s just a case that we probably need to believe in ourselves a little bit more and make sure the work rate for each other stays, and if it does, then I think we will have a good second half of the season and propel ourselves into that top six where we want to be.”

The boss also pondered on his side’s exit from the Techflow Group Northumberland Senior Cup against North Shields in midweek and praised the efforts of two experienced campaigners in Paul Dunn and Gareth Williams.

“Two more fit bodies and we might have had a chance of sniffing that second half,” he said.

“We did so well to ride our luck in the first half and get ourselves in a position to go and try to force the game.

“I thought Paul Dunn and Gareth Williams were excellent. Williams did us a favour by agreeing to help us out and came on as a substitute.

“We were struggling for numbers but he said ‘no problem’ and played at centre half for 90 minutes, and for someone who hadn’t played for a long time, I thought he was really good.

“Adam Bains came on from the Colliers and it just showed that the fighting spirit which we are trying to build on after propelling five or six players into that group for the ones who couldn’t play, is there.”