Sinnott Speaks: So proud of my sickly squad after fantastic week on the road

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Altrincham FC manager Lee Sinnott will be giving us the inside track on the Robins’ return to the Conference. Here’s his latest column for Altrincham Today.

In taking four points from two very difficult away trips to Halifax and Grimsby, I’m really proud of what my players have achieved this week.

We went to The Shay Stadium last Saturday in good heart after the crucial and dramatic victory over Macclesfield, but very few people will have given us much of a chance as Neil Aspin’s side were sitting second in the league and had only dropped points at home in a draw against Grimsby, whilst our away record to that point had been very disappointing with just a single point gained at Alfreton.

I told the players beforehand that if they were on their mettle, like they were against Macclesfield, they will stand a chance against anyone. Halifax are always going to ask you questions, especially at their place, and you have to answer them defensively.

Not only did we do that, we got the ball down and played whenever possible and scored three clinical goals in a fully deserved 3-1 victory. Different squads have different attributes, and we know what ours are. We get the ball down, move it around the park and create opportunities, and we did all that to great effect, as well as defending resolutely.

[blockquote]The victory is even more impressive when you consider that four of the starting 11 were under the weather with a bug[/blockquote]

The goals were really well taken. I’m always stressing to the players that if they are 22 yards out and have space to shoot, then pull the trigger. Do that, and there will never be any complaints from me.

So when Nicky Clee was advancing towards their area in the first half, I was shouting “Go on, Nicky, go on, pull it”. He did, and what a great strike it was for the first goal.

The second was a wonderful finish from a tight angle by James Lawrie, and you have to take your hat off to Kyle Perry for keeping his composure for the third after running from the halfway line. I always think those must be the hardest for a striker, because you know someone is chasing you and you have to decide how long to leave it before shooting. He stayed calm and timed it to perfection, and it rounded off a great day.

The victory is even more impressive when you consider that four of the starting 11 were under the weather with a bug that seems to have spread through the squad during the last week. James Lawrie, who had scored against both Macclesfield and Halifax, succumbed to that for Tuesday night’s trip to Grimsby when we put in an incredibly spirited display, despite not having a large share of possession or using the ball as well as we can when we did get it, to come away with a very pleasing 0-0 draw.

We could have buckled under the exertions of the previous week, but we didn’t. To a man, they stuck to the cause and put their bodies on the line, and you can’t ask for more than that.

The boys were tired by the end, but I was really proud of them for sticking at it and getting a very valuable point and a clean sheet at a place that is going to be a difficult venue for any visiting team.

I cancelled Thursday night’s training session, ahead of this Saturday’s home game with Woking, to stop the spread of a bug that has affected us. It seems sensible to try and isolate it, and we wouldn’t have done that much anyway after a long journey to and from Grimsby.

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