After an impressive first half showing against Whitley Bay last weekend, the Lang Jacks travel to Crook Town and The Sir Tom Cowie Millfield stadium in a bid to back up their dominant victory and continue their good form to put some pressure on the teams above them in the Northern League table. WRITES ROB RUSH
Crook Town are currently sitting in 11th place and coming off a narrow 3-2 victory last week, Tony Fawcett’s men will be looking to capitalise on some potential fragile defending and string together another good performance, which saw them rise up to eighth place in the division.
There is bound to be some optimism from Fawcett and one of his new signings, Jamie Dunn, who made his debut for Whickham and won MOTM against his old club in the process last week, and with the boss saying that everyone would need to work hard to keep their place in the team, Dunn didn’t do his chances any harm. He’ll be hoping for a third consecutive start for the Lang Jacks, who have a clean bill of health for this weekend’s game. The only confirmed absentee for Whickham is striker Zak Atkinson, who is still serving his suspension for his red card a couple of weeks ago. In addition, there might be returns for Conor Newton, Jack Moody and George Priest to the match day squad, bolstering the strength in depth for Fawcett.
For Crook Town, as mentioned earlier they are coming off the back of a narrow 3-2 win against Newton Ayclifffe at home last weekend, and looking back at their recent games, they’re a bit up and down with their results. They lost the return game against the Lang Jacks at the First Mortgage Glebe 2-0, before picking up wins against Bishop Auckland away and comfortably beating Ashington at The Sir Tom Cowie Millfield stadium. They’ll be going to carry on their form from their most recent results and put a consistent run of victories together to push up the league themselves.
Back to the Lang Jacks, and the manager will be keen to continue their fine defensive showing like last week. As Tony said in his post match interview, “I think if you don’t concede you don’t lose a game. It’s massively important, we’ve got to have pride in who we are and what we do. When you keep a clean sheet it shows we’re hard to score against and we’ve got that belief in ourselves.
In addition to keeping clean sheets to ensure a chance at getting maximum points from the game, Fawcett also sees it as a huge opportunity to climb the table via goal difference. “I spoke to the lads at half time (against Whitley) that our goal difference before the game was -5, and if we can defend well, it breeds confidence throughout the rest of the team”.
If the Lang Jacks can marry their defensive prowess with more clinical finishing in front of goal, they’ll be prime candidates to take three points away from this game.