By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner said that his squad are a little bit behind schedule -with the countdown to the new season rapidly approaching.

The Colliers had two friendlies on Friday and Saturday against Newcastle Blue Star and Charnock Richard respectively and the boss said: “We are probably a little bit behind where we want to be – fitness levels are quite good but in terms of our play on the pitch we are not quite there. We have still got a couple of weeks before the campaign starts but we have lots of hard work to do. We had two good games against Newcastle Blue Star and Charnock Richard and there were lots to take from both games – lots of things that have been flagged up in terms of what we still need to work on but that’s what pre season is for. I don’t think there are any players who havn’t played at least 90 minutes across the two games other than if they are coming back from a long term injury or if they’ve had a little bit of a knock.”

He continued: “We lost one game – again I don’t look at results – but they were two good work outs. In spells today against Charnock Richard – and it was quite warm out there – I thought similar to the game at Newcastle Blue Star that we were better second half but we just need to take a bit more care in the final third. Today we got into the final third in the second half on numerous occasions but we were slack and then got outworked a little bit for the last five minutes – not physically, just that we wanted to push forward. We gave the ball away and got caught on the break but it wasn’t bad for pre season because the lads have then had to make big recovery runs.”

He went on: “Overall in terms of team cohesion and system of play there is still some improvement to be done and if I’m honest, I would like to get on the training pitch a little bit more in the next week or so. We’ll get an opportunity on Thursday which is probably more important than people realise because games are really difficult to influence getting across philosophies and how we should play in terms of our strengths and giving people the opportunity to really work on movement patterns and things like that. Players will argue that they prefer to play which is understandable but it’s difficult to learn as you play whereas in training you can be a little bit more specific on one or two things.”