Sinnott Speaks

Sinnott Speaks: I was proud of the lads last week – now to end our home hoodoo in the FA Cup

By Lee Sinnott at

Altrincham FC manager Lee Sinnott gives us the inside track on the Robins’ progress this season in the Vanarama National League. Here’s his latest column for Altrincham Today.

I was really pleased with my players on Saturday in the 2-2 draw at Gateshead because if we continue to show those levels of performance, we will be fine.

I thought we looked a lot more industrious than we did against Kidderminster the previous Tuesday. There was much more to the performance, and I was proud of them.

When we went a goal down early in the second half, I looked for a reaction, and I thought our reaction was great. I was happy with the way that we responded to going behind, particularly as we continued to knock the ball around and stuck to our principles of building moves.

But, to be fair, they are always encouraged to do that. I thought the game went through some scrappy periods, but when we got the ball down and passed it, I thought we played through some nice phases.

Highlights from the draw at Gateshead:

Jimmy Lawrie and Josh O’Keefe found some nice pockets, especially in the first half, when the wingers were narrow and we exploited it. We scored twice in a couple of minutes to turn the game around and whilst conceding a very late equaliser was galling, the boot was on the other foot last week, when we snatched a point against Kidderminster with almost the last kick of the game, so these things tend to even themselves out.

One positive from the last couple of games has been the way that Josh O’Keefe has taken his chance after a difficult start to his Altrincham career. He has shown great tenacity.

He actually came and had a word with me a couple of weeks ago and said: “I’m a better player than I have shown so far.” I replied: “Ok, Josh, when you get the chance, make sure you show me that.” To be fair to him, he has been true to his word, just like Ryan Crowther was earlier this season.

Action (and top) from Altrincham's recent game against Kidderminster

Action (and top) from Altrincham’s recent game against Kidderminster

Ryan should hopefully be OK for this Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Chester, whilst Michael Rankine has tweaked his hamstring, which is a concern. There’s also Andy Parry, who has had a scan on his ankle, but we are still waiting to see if he will be available.

After 18 league games, we enter the FA Cup this weekend. This is my fifth season here and Saturday is only the second time that we have been given a home draw… it’s been more than four years since that happened and we have been drawn away on seven consecutive occasions since.

We did the double over Chester last year, but I think that both Steve Burr and I know that this is a very finely balanced tie. I am told that Altrincham haven’t won a home FA Cup tie for more than 10 years… in fact I was the last manager to lose an FA Cup tie at the J Davidson Stadium, when I was managing Farsley Celtic, so it would be nice to pass that mantle onto Steve Burr on Saturday.

Pictures: Michael Ripley