View From The Dugout

View From The Dugout: Surprised to see Jim go, but I was very pleased with players’ response

By David Prior at

The latest column for Altrincham Today, this week from interim manager Matt Doughty…

Tuesday was certainly not an ordinary day. I called Jim Harvey from work at lunchtime to talk through the plan for that night’s FA Trophy game with Blyth Spartans and he told me that he had been relieved of his duties, which came as a bit of a surprise.

Within a few minutes, the chairman, Grahame Rowley was on the phone, asking me if I would take charge of the game that night as interim manager, until a permanent appointment is made. I didn’t need asking twice and within a couple of hours I had brought in Robbie Lawton and Graham Heathcote to help me out in the dugout.

Interim manager Matt Doughty watches on

Interim manager Matt Doughty watches on

There were other people in the frame but Robbie was an excellent captain who is highly respected at the club, whilst Graham is one of the most knowledgeable people around in non-league football and his experience will be invaluable to someone like me who is just starting out in management.

I was delighted with the players on Tuesday night. We were right down to the bare bones due to injuries, illness and ineligibility, so I brought in Laurence Taylor and Harry Cain, who both did superbly for me. A 2-2 draw means that we must do it all again today up in Northumberland and that gives us the chance to build on the good things that came out of Tuesday’s game.

Watch highlights from the draw against Blyth:

I expect Blyth to be stronger as they were also missing some key players in the first game but I am expecting Robbie Dale and Stephen Turnbull to be in their starting line-up this time. Fortunately, Sam Patterson has recovered from his chest infection and will start at Croft Park and Tom Hannigan has shown no reaction to the nerve problem that forced him out of Tuesday’s game, so he will be back in the heart of the defence.

John Cyrus is still a week away from recovering from an infection and Greg Wilkinson’s thigh pull will probably keep him out until Christmas.

Sean Miller is denied by the Blyth keeper

Sean Miller is denied by the Blyth keeper

Neither side will be able to introduce any new signings, so Gary Jones, signed from Southport on loan on Thursday, will have to wait until we go to Stockport next week to get his first opportunity to play for Alty.

I have released three non-contract players – Simon Lenighan, Luis Morrison-Derbyshire and Phil Marsh – and have put seven days’ notice in for two players, a left-sided defender and a striker and I expect to be bringing more players in during the next few weeks.

Graham Heathcote has recommended the defender and I trust his judgement 100%, whilst the striker is wanted by a club who are in the top five of our league, but I’m hoping that we can persuade him to join us, particularly as he’s the sort of striker who puts himself about and is a natural goalscorer.

Jake Moult scores for Alty on Tuesday night

Jake Moult scores for Alty on Tuesday night

Pics: Mike Ripley and Kevin Warburton