by Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner says his side face a ‘really tough test’ on Saturday (October 28) when they take on high flying Pontefract Collieries at their Woodhorn Lane ground which they hope will be turned into a sea of red.

The Colliers are dedicating the game to the memory of Sir Bobby Charlton, who sadly passed away last weekend and the club are asking supporters to wear red – the significance being that Sir Bobby wore the red shirt of Manchester United for 17 years – as well as England when they famously won the World Cup in 1966.

Boss Skinner said “After we received the call on Saturday to say our game against Sheffield was postponed, we gave the lads the day off – which is unusual for me – but we are training twice this week for what will be a really tough test at home to Pontefract Collieries. They have started the season really well and are in the play off places but we’ll be doing what we always do – whereby we’ve gathered some information on them and we’ll prepare as best we can. We’ll look at ways in which we can exploit some of areas to cause them one or two problems and I think it’ll be a good game.”

On the injury front, Skinner added that the past few days have brought mixed fortunes: “The only plus point with us not playing last weekend is that we have got one or two of the lads who have been carrying knocks and niggles and it has given us a little bit longer for them to clear up,” he said, “Oli Thompson has probably got a great chance of being back and involved on Saturday – albeit we have lost Dan Maguire who has had a little minor operation and will be out for a couple of weeks while he recovers.”

Skinner said that following his sides 4-0 thrashing against Winterton Rangers in North Lincolnshire, confidence had returned to the squad: “Obviously coming off the back of such a positive result at Winterton, all you want to do is for the next game to come along as quickly as it can,” he commented, “Confidence in the camp was high because that’s what winning games of football does to you. We were very much looking forward to going to Sheffield and the history that goes it, with them (Sheffield) being the oldest football club in the world. We were confident we could go there and continue our form and start to put a run of results together but the weather beat us. However when you see pictures of some of the places which were affected as badly as they were by Storm Babet and where a couple of people lost their lives because of it, football pales into insignificance.”

Saturday’s kick-off is 3pm.