NFU v Southport (NLN 17-18)

North Ferriby United  v Southport
 National League North
Saturday 17 February 2018
 Kick-off 3.00pm

Ferriby return to The Eon Visual Media Stadium on Saturday after two long away trips in four days. Both ended in three goal defeats. That at Telford on Saturday was disappointing in terms of performance but the side gave a much better display at Brackley on Tuesday on a very wet and heavy pitch.

The reverse fixture with Southport saw the teams battle out a 2-2 draw in November. The Villagers goals that day came from Mark Gray and Kuda Muskwe who, obviously, are no longer at the club. Indeed, such has been the rate of player movement at the club since that game, only Ross Durrant and Jordon Cooke from that squad will face Southport on Saturday. And, of course, there has been a change of owner and manager.

The Villagers deserved the point at Southport. It gave hope that the season might turn round but it was a false dawn. The point was the last one before the two recent draws against Chorley and Leamington.

One has to feel sorry to new manager Chris Bolder and his squad. Bolder’s first few games in charge saw little change in performance. But as new players have come in and started to listen to Bolder’s ethos, strategies and attitude, performances have improved overall. Progress is being made with a squad that is generally young and relatively inexperienced at this level.

The side is playing with more confidence and errors are reducing. Despite the scoreline at Brackley, The Villagers can take hope from their second-half performance when they took the game to Brackley.

Bolder and his players are getting to grips with the defensive issues. Jordan Harrison always looks threatening when attacking and he certainly made the Brackley defence work hard on Tuesday.

However, the side is  a work in progress and performances, will no doubt continue to be uneven. Even so, Bolder and his players need the support of the fans. For ninety minutes on match days they need to get behind the team and forget the off-field issues.

Southport go in to Saturday’s game with four wins in their last six games. It is a run that has seen them climb away from the relegation spots. Even so, they will be looking for all three points as they are still only four points above the drop zone.
Southport have won four, drawn four and lost seven of their away games. They have scored 16 goals and conceded 29 in those games. They come in the match on the back of a 3-0 win at Gainsborough last Saturday, a game that was a key battle in the fight to stay up.

The Sandgrounders have some experienced players in their squad. The Villagers will have to mindful of striker Jason Gilchrist who has been key in their recent improvement.

Bolder has this to say,

“It was a long trip on Tuesday night following Saturday’s big trip to AFC Telford United. These experiences are new to some of our squad members, but ones that will prove invaluable moving forward.

“It obviously goes down as another defeat, but it’s more about the manner in which we conduct ourselves and I thought that the full squad equipped themselves really well against a very strong, experienced outfit.

“We have played two games on heavy pitches and been up against at times, so we will look to freshen things up where possible. We have a number of injury doubts, but we do welcome players back into the fold.

“All the lads that have come in have shown a fantastic approach to everything thrown at them. We need to remember where these lads have come from and we have to be patient with their development, but the signs are really pleasing. The players are giving their maximum and each game they are gaining invaluable experiences.

“We are going to go through dips in performance, but the pleasing aspect is they are so keen to learn and develop and have the right attitude which is a fundamental requirement. We are always looking at potential options, but we are also keen to keep as much continuity and develop the current group of players, so if the right players become a available then they will be considered.

“Southport will be another big test for us and they have some quality players that are really going to test the lads again. Obviously they have a strong front line, especially having the division’s top

goalscorer and they are showing good form at the minute.

“As mentioned above, Bolder faces selection problems. Paul Robson begins the first of a four game suspension after receiving his second red card of the season against Leamington. Alex Davidson is recovering from a hip injury, Jordan Deacey  went off before half-time on Tuesday with a hamstring issue and Brett Agnew has a knee injury. Jamie Forester has an ongoing problem. He aws named in the 16 on Tuesday but had to be withdrawn at the last minute.”

Possible Ferriby squad: Ross Durrant,  Lewis Exall,  Ben Clappison, Jack Walters, Kojo Kyei, Jordon Cooke, Jack Mail, Jamie Taylor, Bobby Johnson, Adam Bolder, Luke Lofts, George Harrison, Sam Ansu, Carl Stewart, Jorome Slew, Jamie Forrester, Brett Agnew, James Piercey, Jordan Deacey



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