Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:47 pm
WILLINGTON v BILLINGHAM TOWN PREVIEW
After Easter and the biblical rainfall that preceded it, Town are back in action on Saturday against Willington. Usually a good hunting ground for Billingham: Willington are a different animal these days as their home form indicates. In their previous two seasons in division two, they have often struggled at Hall Lane but only four defeats during the current campaign has put them in an outside place for an FA Cup qualification spot next season. Their forward line includes veteran striker Mattie Moffat whom Town tried to sign in September from Bishop Auckland and Connor Winter who played in the last Boxing Day derby against Synthonia which ended in a 0-0 stalemate. The mad scramble to complete league fixtures has affected the majority of clubs but Town’s squad has only one stamina sapping week to come from the 21st April to the 28th. During those seven days, Billingham host Chester Le Street Town and Heaton Stannington on the Saturdays with midweek hikes to Willington (Durham City) and Ashington (AFC Blyth) sandwiched in between. Although sitting in a respectable seventh position in the table, teams who are immediately below Town have games in hand and it’s likely Billingham will finish around 10th/11th position come the middle of May.
Manager James Hunter will have been frustrated with the amount of postponements of late but it has inadvertently proved to be a godsend, giving the walking wounded time to recover and other players becoming available again. On Thursday, we caught up with James in the build-up to the game, knowing a win would give the squad a timely confidence boost.
JAMA ON WILLINGTON:
Myself, Harry and Dorch have been out watching games and sessions at a range of levels. It’s been interesting to see how different teams set up and some of the players we’ve seen especially at lower levels have been very impressive. As much as there has been a couple of breaks in the season due to the weather and the players may have short periods out, we have kept on top of things by meeting up and speaking every day to go through the plan for the next game (Willington) which is obviously a very big game as we get down to the run in and most important part of the season for us. It’s well known that results haven’t been what we wanted but we still sit in 7th and can just focus on picking up points so that the team behind us cannot overtake. When we are on our game I believe we can be one of the best forward playing teams in the league, it is the heart and willingness to defend and defend well which I know we need to work on, the first half against Chester-le-street showed we can defend against a team who really put you under pressure as everyone knew their jobs inside out. We can take a positive from that and take it into Saturdays game against a team who are looking to climb up the table, now is the time to get 3 points and start winning again going into our last 7 games, it won’t be easy but we know it’s what the club and fans are overdue now.
Jack Connor and Stephen Oakley are missing due to work and Clayton Macdonald is out with a one match ban. Mark Ward and Jamie Bellamy will be playing for their parent clubs in the North Riding League. On the plus side Jason Blackburn, Glen Hargrave and Mark Dixon are all due to return and play a part on Saturday.
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