By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC boss Ian Skinner – preparing for Saturday’s tussle against Grimsby Borough at Woodhorn Lane (March 23) – will emphasise to his squad of players the need to improve their form on home soil.

Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Belper Town – where there was a sting in the tail when the Derbyshire-based outfit scored a stoppage time equaliser – was the Colliers’ fourth consecutive away game and the boss said: “We are pleased to have a free week. We looked a touch leggy towards the end of what has been a busy period in terms of having travels to Stockton, Pontefract, Consett and Belper. I don’t want to use the terms being down to the bare bones but obviously we only had two substitutes at Belper today and if we had had a couple more to be able to freshen things up a bit towards the end, who knows what might have happened.”

He continued: “I think the good thing for us is we have got two or three ways of playing now and that’s credit to the lads. We work hard on it in training about being adaptable and being able to switch in terms of how we play and that’s vital for us. Not only does it mean we can play in different ways from game to game but it also means in-game we can change in terms of the system and the shape that we play. That causes opposition sides problems and I thought it was evident at Belper today. I don’t want to sound disrespectful but I don’t think they (Belper) ever got to grips with us and it will be interesting to see the possession stats and the passes completed. I’ll not be surprised if I see that we had more of the ball than them and made far more passes than them – but our performance deserved a little bit more than it got.”

He added: “We’ll dust ourselves down and train this week as we prepare for what will be a tough game against Grimsby Borough. We just need to look at our home form a little bit because we’ve picked up more points on the road. It probably suits us being away because teams have to come at us and when teams do that and leave space, we are a really difficult outfit to play against. At home, teams come and sit in a little bit more and expect us to break them down so that presents a different challenge – but its one we look forward too.”