ANTH Smith has challenged his Gateshead side to use a tough week to climb away from “trouble”, writes STEVE BROWN.
So far, so good-ish. Though the Tynesiders lost 3-0 at Dartford last Saturday, they recovered with admirable home draws against Grimsby Town and Newport County.
That has lifted them to 17th in the table, four places but only two points above the Blue Square Bet Premier relegation zone.
Smith has been particularly impressed by his players’ “character and resilience, hard work and endeavour” throughout a testing period which now sees them host Southport at Victoria Park today, before Monday’s trip to Mansfield Town.
And the Heed manager has urged his men to “knuckle down” and ensure a more enjoyable end to the campaign.
“The commitment’s been good, the lads are having a go,” said Smith (right).
“You’ve got to show a little bit of everything in the position we’re in, and it’s paramount that we stick together. Character is what gets you through these games, not pretty football. It’s a learning curve for the lads but they’re showing that they are learning, they’re showing a little bit of resilience.
“We have been picking up points against good teams, who are up there near the top of the table.
“That’s been the instruction, let’s get points on the board, and they’ve achieved that by hard work and endeavour.
“This has been a tough week. Psychologically, it has been a real test, to see if they can show their character and a bit of bottle to bounce back from defeats and roll on from good results. Now we’ve got another two games in three days. It’s a tough ask for the lads, there’s no two ways about that.
“But I’m sure they’ll knuckle down and give everything they can, and hopefully they can climb the table, then sit back and enjoy the rest of the season.
“That’s been the target, can we use this week to get out of trouble?
“You look at our so-called home games, we’re unbeaten in our last two at Victoria Park, we’ve won at Blyth Spartans and York City.
“So fair play to the lads, they’re getting points from our home games. We just have to make sure we keep that going.”