Richie McLoughlin wants Jarrow Roofing to end their Ebac Northern League Division 1 campaign in style when they go to Ashington tomorrow.
A season that has brought many changes on and off the pitch for the Roofers is nearly at an end. The current side is virtually unrecognisable to the one that was hurtling towards a relegation battle at the start of the season. Now, a new crop of players and a new management team have taken over at the CA and have managed to turn in a second half of the season that leaves plenty of reasons to be positive heading into the new campaign.
Roofing are now among the form sides in the division. Tuesday night’s win at West Auckland Town means the South Tynesiders have now won their last two games and are unbeaten in their last four. McLoughlin admits the first half of the season was tough for him, but he says a win at Ashington tomorrow will present a very good return for the effort his side have shown in the second half of the season.
“The first half of the season was one of the worst I have experienced in a long time. We were flat and we were heading into games that I would have expected us to win and turning in poor performances.
“It wasn’t good, and changes were needed to help us improve. A lot of new players have come in, Mark Collingwood has joined as joint manager, and we are starting to build a side that can compete now.
“We have great fight in the team and everyone is committed to what we are doing here. The first half of the season was poor, but hopefully we won’t have to go through that again next season.
“We will be looking at ways we can improve further next season, but there are good foundations in place now that should allow us to keep on progressing. Planning is already underway for next season, but we want to end the season in style by getting a positive result at Ashington tomorrow.
The Roofers travel to Woodhorn Lane to take on an Ashington side who are winless in four and sit 15th in the standings. Although McLoughlin’s men come into the game with the better form behind them, the manager believes his side will have to show fight and determination to secure a result.
“I think we are going to be short on numbers tomorrow, with six or seven players possibly set to miss out. At West Auckland on Tuesday, players were suffering with knocks and injuries, but they still fought for the win.
“I think it will be a similar situation on Saturday, but we just have to get on with it. If we show the same level of spirit that we produced in midweek, then I think we have every chance of ending the season with a win.
“Ashington are a hard side to predict. They have had some funny results of late, and they lost 4-1 to South Shields in their last match. However, on their day, they have players who can win games for them, so we will have to be ready to cope with that.”
Kick-off at Woodhorn Lane is at 3pm, but McLoughlin will have to check on the fitness of his squad before naming a side. Lee Kerr is suspended while Anth Myers, Brad Varga, Dennis Knight, Tom Bailey, Paul Gardiner and Calvin Smith are all doubts.
- Dan McSkimming
Photography: Duncan Donnelly