Middleton wants ‘team of Scrooges’ in Bedlington v Ashington derby

Ashington FC manager Gary Middleton, having seen his side concede nine goals in their last four matches, will is demanding an improvement ahead of the Wansbeck derby against Bedlington on Boxing Day (11am).

The boss, who wore the colours of the Terriers during his playing career, will ask his side for a better performance than when the two clashed in the first instalment at Woodhorn Lane in late August which resulted in a 3-1 victory for Ian Skinner’s side.

“Obviously it is a derby, which will be no different than usual,” he said.

“They are in better form than us and obviously beat us earlier in the season so we will be looking for a much improved performance.

“Certainly we could do with a clean sheet because we haven’t had many of them this season – a department in which we have got to do better.

“So I’ll be asking the whole of the squad to carry out the role of Scrooge and give nothing away.”

Defender Richard Flynn is ruled out through injury but Glen Taylor, who completed his ban as Middleton’s side went down 2-1 against North Shields on Saturday, will return.

“Anything is a boost for us at the moment, so any player like Glen coming back into the pool will give the rest of the lads a lift, I would have thought,” added Middleton.