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View from the Dugout: A strange week and I’m confident we will tighten up at the back

The latest column from Altrincham FC manager Phil Parkinson.

Altrincham FC vs FC United of Manchester National League North Fixture Date: 14th August 2018 Venue: J Davidson Stadium, Moss Lane Attendance: 1,704 Final Score: 1-2 Scorers: Jordan Hulme Copyright Michael Ripley Photography

We have our fifth game of the season today as we welcome Boston United to the J Davidson Stadium in the Vanarama National League North for a 3pm kick-off.

It’s been a bit of a strange week as we were outstanding at Spennymoor last Saturday, yet came away with just a point in a thrilling 4-4 draw. On Tuesday night, we took a second half lead in front of a magnificent crowd of over 1,700, only to concede an equaliser and our opponents seemed to want it more from that point, going on to take all three points with a winning goal in the last 10 minutes.

Watch highlights from the game against FC United:

I don’t take too much notice of league tables at this stage of the season but we really should have more points on the table than the five achieved to date.

Our opponents today, Boston United, have started well, with three wins from four games and I know that there is a great tradition in this fixture going back 50 years or so.

Craig Elliott has done very well there since leaving Shaw Lane to take over at the Lincolnshire club last November and he has recruited three of his former players (Ryan Qualter, Nicky Walker and Spencer Harris) and made a few eye-catching signings, such as Nathan Arnold (from Lincoln City) and Jonny Margetts (from Scunthorpe United) in the close season.

Watch hightlights of the 4-4 draw against Spennymoor:

Tom Hancock is extremely doubtful with a foot injury that forced him off just after scoring his second and our fourth goal at Spennymoor last Saturday. We thought he might have broken it, but fortunately he hadn’t. He didn’t train on Thursday and next Saturday is probably a more realistic time frame for his return.

Andy White also picked up an injury at Spennymoor and missed the game on Tuesday night. He trained on Thursday and we are hopeful that he will be fit today.

Simon Richman was named on the bench on Tuesday night but pulled up before the game and had to be replaced. While he trained on Thursday night, he is still doubtful for this afternoon.

Goalmouth action against FC United on Tuesday

In addition, both Jordan Hulme, who took a knock quite early in the game against FC United, and Sean Williams, will need to undergo fitness tests before today’s game.

James Poole looked great in training on Thursday and it shouldn’t be too long now before he is back in contention for a place.

Despite Tuesday night’s first defeat, I think that we have already shown that we can compete very effectively in this league. We carry a real threat going forward and 10 goals in four games is the joint best in the league with Blyth Spartans, who scored eight of their 10 goals last Saturday in beating Chester 8-1.

Defensively, there is clearly work to do, with only FC United having conceded more goals than us, but we will tighten up. I don’t want us to be like Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan in the mid 1990s and I am very confident that we will improve defensively, hopefully starting today against Boston United.

All pictures: Michael Ripley