Two victories over the August bank holiday weekend meant that we finished the opening month of the season on a high with three straight league wins.
I have always been very confident in the players, even after the disappointment of gaining just a single point from our opening three league games.
Building a team takes time but I have been delighted with the way the team have set about getting us up the league table and we are now just three points behind the early leaders, Warrington Town, going into September.
Monday’s win at Witton, who were unbeaten to that point, was a marvellous display. The quality of our play in the first half and two wonderful strikes from outside the area from James Poole and Josh Hancock, were the obvious highlights but the performance in the second half, whilst not as eye-catching from an entertainment point of view, was just as pleasing to Neil and me as the lads defended as if their lives depended on getting a clean sheet, which was richly deserved for a thoroughly professional display.
Watch highlights of the win over Coalville:
Tomorrow, we enter the Emirates FA Cup, with a First Qualifying Round tie at Abbey Hey, who finally saw off Maine Road on Monday night, after the original replay had been abandoned in extra-time due to a bad neck injury to one of their players, who thankfully is well on the way to a full recovery.
Incredibly, we had to replace four players playing at full back during the two bank holiday games against Coalville Town and Witton Albion as Lewis Short, John Disney, Simon Richman and Shaun Densmore all came off injured.
John Disney’s ankle injury is the most concerning. He is due to have a scan early next week, so we should know more then. Lewis Short (tight hamstring), Simon Richman (ankle sprain) & Shaun Densmore (knee) must all be rated as doubtful for Saturday and with seven substitutes in the FA Cup, I will be calling on a couple of the reserves, who I watched against Congleton Vale on Tuesday night. Max Harrop scored twice in that game and he is set to take some part tomorrow as well.
Sean Miller will start full training next week and Josh Amis is recovering well from his appendicitis, so hopefully, we will have greater strength in numbers to call on for what will be a big month, with nine games scheduled, starting tomorrow.
Abbey Hey play in the Hallmark Security League, Premier Division and have also won at Irlam, as well as eventually overcoming Maine Road, to reach this stage. It’s a massive game for them and we will need to be at it to progress to Monday’s draw.