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Manager's Blog - We Have Shown Plenty of Character

6 years ago By David Hills-Taylor

Manager Danny Johnson couldn’t hide his delight as his team overcame a stern test at home to second placed Chorley on Saturday.

The manager praised his team’s efforts over the last few weeks but insisted his teams form since the end of November 2011 has been very good.

‘We stuttered throughout September and October but apart from defeats away at FC United on Boxing Day and at home to Northwich Victoria on the 2nd January we have been a very difficult team to beat since the end of November last year and our form has been very good. The last four games have shown that we have plenty of character and a little bit of quality too. We have taken some stick off certain people over the last few months which I personally felt was unjustified and although we have achieved nothing we have certainly proved that we are a very capable team. During that time we were without quite a few key members of our squad through an horrific injury list along with plenty of suspensions. I always felt that once we got those players back on the pitch we would be competitive. It is no coincidence that since Craig Robinson returned to the club we have improved both on and off the pitch. Robbo is a winner and demands more from his team mates than any player I have ever worked with. The lads have unbelievable respect for him and his partnership with George Melling is the best central defensive pairing we have had for a long time. I have always maintained that we were better than our position in the table and I think recent results and performances have proved that.’

‘We have now put ourselves into a position where if we continue to do the right things we can finish in the top eight. Finishing in the top ten is probably a more realistic target but if we can continue to win games then you never know. I always say that it is important to enjoy the good times as the difficult times are just around the corner. The players that have won the last four games are the same players who were being heavily criticised a couple of months ago. Never once have I doubted what this group of players can achieve and fingers crossed we can keep them together next season and become a stronger outfit. Having won the league cup last season I was as disappointed as anyone that we were dumped out of the cup competitions at an early stage this time around. However, what we now have is a very stable football club both on and off the pitch and that in itself is something we should all be proud of.’

‘The performance on Saturday was excellent and considering we had to come from a goal down makes it even more pleasing. Many will point to the fact that we were playing against 10 men but we have proved on a number of occasions that it isn’t that easy to play against 10 men! At half time we spoke about being patient and continuing to get the ball into wide areas for Mark Peers and Matty O’Neill, who were both magnificent. We never panicked at any stage and we continued to probe and press Chorley throughout the second half. We still had to be aware of the threat Chorley’s forward players possessed as they have some excellent players and you can see why they have had such a good season so far. They are a big, physical team and have quality all over the pitch and are very dangerous from set pieces but we coped very well and defended excellently. For me personally it is an absolute honour to manage a team against people of the stature of both Garry Flitcroft and Matt Janson. They are legends of the game and at times I have to pinch myself. We have collected four points from them this season which is a great effort from my team and very satisfying from a management point of view.’

‘We now have another home game on Wednesday evening against Chasetown who although haven’t been in the best form recently still have a number of players who can cause us enough problems. Every team in this league is more than capable of beating any other therefore, it is vital we approach the game with the correct mentality. The fact that we have just beaten second placed Chorley counts for nothing. We need to be ready and both Robbo (Craig Robinson) and I will be demanding that each and every player continues with the same determination and commitment they have shown over the past few weeks. We want to finish the season strong and prove that we are a very good side.’

Where next?

Abbey Hey Friendly Re-announced Ashton United will play a friendly at Abbey Hey's Abbey Stadium on Tuesday 24th January.

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