Ashington players target consistency to achieve top eight finish
Ashington head coach Ian Skinner said that all of the club's players have made the same New Year's resolution '“ to be more consistent.
The Colliers are four matches into the second half of their Ebac Northern League first division programme and currently occupy a mid table place.
This despite early season expectation levels from several members of the squad who had an eye on a top six finish.
Skinner believes the players have left themselves with too much to do to achieve that aim – but admitted that he will be disappointed if they are not in the top eight come the end of the season.
“We need to be more consistent as a group,” he said.
“We have played 31 games in all competitions and we have lost as many games as we have won.
“One of our strengths is having a very closely knit dressing room and the lads get on well with each other, both on and off the pitch.
“They are a tight group and we [the management team] have been left scratching our heads why our form has been up and down.
“Our biggest disappointment was bowing out of the two FA competitions – the FA Cup on the opening day of the season at home to Nelson and the FA Vase exit at Easington – coupled to losing against Blyth Town in the Northumberland Senior Cup.
“We go through peaks and troughs and we need to perform better on a more regular basis.
“Consistency is without a doubt the key element.
“In the first part of the campaign we only won two of our first seven games.
“We then went on a good run followed by a bad sequence of results. We only lost one game in nine during the months of October and November then we have won only one of our last seven.
“When we have a poor result we tend to follow it up by adding a few more instead of bouncing back.
“Consequently, we have left ourselves with too much to do to make any impact on the top bracket in the league – but I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top eight.
“Without being disrespectful to other teams in the division, I don’t think the league is as strong as in previous years, with the exception of Shildon, North Shields, South Shields and Morpeth.
“Apart from those four outfits, it is much of a much ness.”
Meanwhile Skinner was eager to send good wishes to Ashington FC’s logistics manager Alan Brown who underwent an operation last week in Wansbeck General Hospital.
He said: “Alan had a hip replacement and is now on the mend. “He does a sterling job for us and on behalf of the whole club I would like to wish him a speedy recovery.”
Following Tuesday night’s scheduled away clash at Bishop Auckland (January 3), Ashington break new ground on Saturday with a first ever visit to face Ryhope CW, kick-off 3pm.