Lavery positive despite Grieve and Atkin looking set to leave Ashington

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Ashington CFC chairman Ian Lavery said the Woodhorn Lane club will not be left behind after it appeared that central defenders Matty Grieve and Liam Atkin are en route to joining fellow Ebac Northern League first division outfit Celtic Nation.

Lavery said he is buoyed with the news that other players are keen to join the Colliers.

Speaking before Ashington’s home derby with Whitley Bay on Saturday, he said: “It looks as if the club have lost two very good top quality centre halves in Matty Grieve and Liam Atkin to Celtic Nation.

“It’s a way of life in the Northern League that on occasions, top quality players have their heads turned, whether it be by finance or for whatever reason.

“But Ashington will not be left behind as a club as we have made far too much progress since moving to Woodhorn Lane – and the progress will continue.

“We are now on the lookout for replacements and I can promise supporters we have got some top quality irons in the fire and very soon we will be back up to full strength and fighting for every single trophy and every single point available.

“This is not a blow. In the Northern League you have got to manage situations and quite often players move from one team to another and mainly it is for financial reasons.

“We cannot control that – the individuals control that – unless we have got players on contracts. What we are here to do is to manage the situation.

“I’m not knocked back by this – in fact I’m buoyed by the fact that we seem to have other players willing to come to Ashington.

“So whilst it might be slightly disappointing, it’s a case of managing and getting on straight away – and that’s what we intend to do.”

Meanwhile the Wansbeck side have resigned Scott Blandford.

The 28-year-old versatility player, who previously spent several seasons with the Colliers, had taken the last year out after picking up an injury.

Blandford said: “I hurt my knee early last season playing for North Shields and I’ve had a year on the sidelines.

“I’ve had a few other clubs knocking on the door especially in the close season, but I loved playing for Ashington in the past and when I got the chance to come back it was a pretty simple decision to make.

“I’ve started running as I try to pick things up fitness and I could be available for selection on Saturday when we are at home to Billingham Town.”