By Brian Bennett
Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has set the bar high as he prepares to embark on a new challenge in the Northern Premier League East Division following promotion from the Ebac Northern League last term.
Newton Aycliffe secured their place in the NPL by going up as champions from the ENL whilst the Colliers – who finished as league runners up – comfortably defeated Glossop North End 3-0 in their Inter Step play off in Derbyshire.
Speaking on the North East Non-League Show with James Raine last week, the Ashington boss said that the Woodhorn Lane based club were not merely going to make the numbers up in the NPL – and even talked about them trying to ‘sneak’ into a play off position come the end of the season.
Skinner said: “We are not going into the next league above (NPL) to make the numbers up. I am talking about play offs if I can or certainly when we get to the business end of the season making sure we are in with a shout of potentially getting into the play offs or at least giving ourselves a chance to see if we can sneak into them. Will that be easy? No. It’ll be a real tough test because you will have five, six, seven or eight very, very strong dominant clubs in the league next year. However, I believe if we can put the squad together with the right make up that we are looking for, then on our day we will be able to give people a game and be competitive and come the latter part of the stages to be in with a shout of maybes trying to sneak into a play off spot – and sneak in would probably be the right words.”
Skinner added that journeys on the road would see Ashington’s mileage increase from 1800 in the ENL to around 4,500 in the NPL.