View From The Dugout

View From The Dugout: New signing and injury returns will help our Cup push

By Jim Harvey at

The latest column for Altrincham Today from Altrincham FC manager Jim Harvey…

There were some positive aspects to our performance last weekend, but in a game where our attacking play was generally good, we defended our left hand side poorly midway through the second half and Boston capitalised to score the only goal of the game and take all three points back to Lincolnshire.

It’s the FA Cup this weekend and we welcome Morpeth Town to the J Davidson Stadium for a 3rd Qualifying Round game.

I’m pleased to confirm that Phil Marsh is available for this game after his international clearance came through from the FA of Wales. Phil did very well for me at Stalybridge five years ago and I’m hoping that he can recapture that form, now that we have signed him from Bala Town, who play in the League of Wales. We also received international clearance for another player, who has been training with us recently, but we are not progressing that particular signing.

Harry Cain stretches for the ball against Boston last Saturday

Harry Cain stretches for the ball against Boston last Saturday

Tom Hannigan has come through training well this week and is also available, which is a big boost. I was at the game at Halifax in early August when Tom sustained his medial ligament injury and I know what a good player he is and how much he has been missed in the 11 games that he hasn’t featured in since then.

Simon Richman is also fit again and Charlie Joyce is available after his one-match suspension, so things are certainly improving on the availability front.

I know that Morpeth are a capable side and this FA Cup tie is certainly unique in that it pits together two managers who won at Wembley on the same day!

Greg Wilkinson with a free kick last Saturday

Greg Wilkinson with a free kick last Saturday

Nick Gray oversaw the Northumberland side’s greatest hour in their long history as the Highwaymen recovered from conceding a very early goal to strong favourites, Hereford FC, to turn things round dramatically to win by four goals to one, just hours before I had one of the best days of my footballing life, as FC Halifax Town overcame another strong favourite, Grimsby Town, with a single second-half goal settling the outcome in our favour.

Watch highlights of Morpeth Town and FC Halifax Town’s triumphs at Wembley in May (including a few shots of Jim Harvey):

I saw the closing minutes of Morpeth’s victory that day and I know that they are certainly capable of scoring lots of goals, although do concede fairly freely as well, so it promises to be an entertaining game and definitely good value for money, with reduced admission prices of £10 for adults and £5 concessions, throughout the ground.

We know that our visitors will be very fired up for this game and we will need to match that on the day. If we can, then I am confident that we will progress into the final qualifying round, the draw for which is on Monday.