This week’s column comes from assistant manager Neil Sorvel…
Last Saturday’s Emirates F.A. Cup exit at Shildon was a bitter disappointment for everyone and the players had a lot to prove on Tuesday night at home to Farsley Celtic, who would have gone top of the league with a win.
There was never any real chance of that happening as our lads were at it from the word go. It could have been a frustrating evening for us, but scoring inside 10 minutes from a well-worked free kick helped enormously. Josh Hancock stooped to glance a header home from John Johnston’s perfectly delivered free kick and we were on our way.
To score six goals and keep a clean sheet was really pleasing for Phil Parkinson and me and there were so many positives right throughout the team, as well as the lads who came on in the second half.
Watch highlights from the 6-0 win over Farsley:
We have to take that on now today as we welcome Grantham Town to the J Davidson Stadium. They have hit a bit of a poor patch after a good start to the season and will be fired up to redress the disappointments of two home defeats in their last two outings, going out of the FA Cup against Alvechurch, before a surprise defeat on Tuesday night against Halesowen Town.
They started poorly last season but eventually finished just outside the play-off places. They are a well organised high-energy team and in Lee Shaw, they have a very dangerous striker who scored almost 30 goals last season.
On the injury front, things are definitely improving. Josh Amis came on at Shildon and again against Farsley, setting up Tom Hannigan’s goal that put us five-nil up by winning the header from a corner… he had a good pre-season before being struck down with appendicitis just before the first league game and gives the team an added dimension up front.
Sean Miller had a full session in training on Thursday and will play for the reserves against Wythenshawe Town today… having not played any football in 2017, he needs game minutes to build match fitness, but it shouldn’t be too long before Alty fans see him play again.
Simon Richman returned to action in the second half on Tuesday night and Tim Deasy has recovered from his groin strain and is available today.
James Poole was able to join in training on Thursday and should be available, whilst Jordan Hulme and John Johnston both had niggles from Tuesday’s win and will be assessed by Tommy Uda ahead of today’s encounter. Lewis Short also didn’t train on Thursday but that was just a precautionary measure and we expect him to be OK for today.
The league table looks pretty tight at the top, but we have the opportunity to get towards the play-off places and if we can show the sort of form that took Farsley apart in midweek, there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging all of the leading teams in the coming weeks.
Pictures: Michael Ripley