Harmison wants more from side after derby win over Bedlington

Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com
Ashington manager Steve Harmison. Picture by Ian Appleby - www.ianapplebyimages.com

Steve Harmison saw an improved performance from his outfit in Monday’s 4-0 derby win over Bedlington.

But the Ashington boss is still demanding more.

Harmison, who was subdued on Saturday after the Colliers had exited the FA Cup with defeat against Thackley, wore a huge grin after Monday’s derby success.

He said: “It was a good win and although it didn’t take much for us to be better than we had been at the weekend against Thackley, we were sharper.

“What we had dished up previously hadn’t been good enough. We were better today but we still need that little bit more.

“Andrew Johnson is a key member along with a strong back four, and Kyle Downey is of massive importance to us when he plays like he did today.

“Kyle has got great quality on the ball and when he exhibits that we are a better side.

“He has been carrying an injury and was not quite on it, but I thought he was back to what he was last season.

“There are things happening which people aren’t aware of, like I’ve been protecting players who for instance may be a bit low on confidence and others who are struggling with niggling injuries, and Scott Blandford had to hobble off today with a hamstring pull.

“Our performance against Durham was decent, today first half against Bedlington we were excellent as we pressed the ball, showed good tempo, made good decisions and scored three good goals.”

Harmison said he is baffled as his outfit turn in Jekyll and Hyde performances.

“Second half we took our foot off the pedal,” he said.

“It’s something which we keep doing and we don’t play for the whole 90 minutes.

“But from where we were on Saturday to where we are today, it was like watching two different teams.

“And that is the problem with us at this present moment in time because we are not sure which team is going to turn up.

“Josh Gray came on as a substitute for us after having not played for a month whilst there are a lot of new players in the dressing room and the lads are still getting used to each other.

“The back four were excellent again with Andrew Johnson in a central role, and all in all I was happy with what happened, but we have got to build on it and kick on.

“We are struggling for numbers in midfield. Blandford is now on the sick list whilst I completely left Paul Dunn out to give him a week off because four games in ten days is no good for him.

“We have got to make sure we have players doing jobs for us who are fully fit and firing.

“We now have a massive game on Saturday against Dunston who are one of the top sides and hopefully we will continue to make progress on what was a good performance, because there is still a lot more to come from this side.”

Harmison added that his players have to be more clinical in front of goal.

“We are continuing to make chances but we have got to be more ruthless,” he said.

“Bedlington struggled first half but were better second half and that maybe brought the sides closer together.

“I had a chat with Bedlington boss Andy Ferrell before the game and he had ten to 12 players missing, so it was a tough ask, but we have done a good job and I’m far happier.”