Places still to be won in Blyth starting XI - Cassidy

REFLECTING on his side’s 3-2 defeat at the hands of a youthful Newcastle United XI, Spartans manager Tommy Cassidy insisted there was still a chance for players to secure a starting place in the season opener at Witton Albion next Saturday.

The former Northern Ireland international said: “I’m still undecided on my starting 11 for Witton next week and we have training on Tuesday and Thursday so there’s places up for grabs and we need to work on things.

“Lee Mason and Carl Jones are back into the mix this week too, and that’s a bonus ahead of the game.”

The return of former Gateshead defender Jones is a timely one for Cassidy as he feels his side we culpable of giving away cheap goals.

“We’ve given away silly goals in pre-season and today was another one.

“The first one from the corner was silly and nobody was tight on the man. Carl coming back will help with that.”

Speaking about the performance as a whole, Cassidy revealed he still expects improvement despite some promising signs.

He added: “It’s been the same throughout pre-season, we’ve had some good moments and some not-so-good moments.

“There’s been so many changes and things need to settle down.

“We did well for long periods and these games have their purpose.”

Cassidy had praise for midfielder Tom Berj’s performance.

“Young Tom Berj in midfield did well again, he influences other players and gets them moving,” added the boss.

Cassidy will lead his side into their opening game of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League campaign at Witton Albion on Saturday at 3pm, and full coverage will be available through the club’s Twitter page @Blyth_Spartans.