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Middleton: Ashington can cope with fixture pile-up

GARY MIDDLETON insists his Ashington side are capable of coping with the fixture congestion that has handed them four games in eight days.

Ashington midfielder Liam Atkin
Ashington midfielder Liam Atkin

GARY MIDDLETON insists his Ashington side are capable of coping with the fixture congestion that has handed them four games in eight days.

The Colliers beat Northern League rivals Jarrow Roofing at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday, with goals from Andrew Johnson and Gareth Bainbridge.

They beat Billingham Synthonia 2-0 at home on Tuesday night with goals from Young and Scott, and travel to Dunston UTS tonight before the trip to Bishop Auckland on Saturday.

That is all certain to test Middleton’s squad to the limits. But after a string of three defeats at the start of last month, Ashington have now lost just once in six games, and won five of their last seven.

And Middleton is confident they can maintain their current form despite the packed fixture list.

“We produced a very good, professional performance on Saturday, against a hard-working Jarrow Roofing team,” said Middleton.

“They pushed us all the way, and we had to be at our best to get past them.

“We stuck to the task and kept another clean sheet, which is very pleasing.

“Gareth Rees was outstanding in the centre of defence and over the last couple of games has started to form a very good understanding with Liam Atkin.

“Hopefully that can continue because we’ve got a tough schedule to get through now.

“Billingham Synthonia always give you a tough game, then we have Dunston and on Saturday Bishops, who are scrapping for every point.

“It’s a big ask for the players, playing four games in a week. But Dunston had to deal with a similar situation last week.

“It’s the same for a lot of clubs now so we know we just have to get on with it.

“We don’t have a huge squad to pick from, and we’ve got James Taylor, Jonny Godsmark and Phil Bell carrying injuries. But that always gives an opportunity to someone else.

“It’s a good challenge for us but we’re capable of stepping up and getting the right results ... A month ago we were desperate for a win but now we’re back in decent form and the aim now is to keep that going.

“We’ve got to keep pushing and look to accumulate as many points as possible between now and the end of the season.”

Reflecting on the Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final draw, and the forthcoming clash away to Newcastle United Reserves, Middleton added: “It’s the draw we wanted, although we’d obviously have preferred it at home.

“We’ve got four former Newcastle lads in the squad, so it’s going to be extra special for them.

“We believe we can go one better than last year by winning the competition.”

Pictured: Liam Atkin fires in a shot against Jarrow Roofing

 

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