OSSETT Albion head coach Phil Thompson is hopeful of adding some experienced heads to aid his side’s battle against relegation.
Thompson admits his side are in the think of a relegation dogfight in Evo-Stik Division 1 North after winning just two of their last 12 league matches to leave them third from bottom of the table.
New signings have been earmarked to bolster his options, with Thompson putting seven days’ notice in for Farsley striker Adam Muller and Ossett Town defender Rob Tonks.
Neither deal is expected to go through before Saturday’s scheduled trip to high-flying Clitheroe (kick-off 3pm) but Thompson is confident the pair will be pulling on the black and gold to boost Albion’s survival hopes.
“I think we’ve got a good chance of getting them in after the weekend,” he said.
“I know both players well and know what they can both add to the team.
“I worked with Adam at Worksop Town and Guiseley and know Rob from Ossett Town.
“Neither player is playing week-in, week-out so hopefully they’ll come here, bolster the squad and add some experience to the team, and also give the other lads that are already here a bit of a boost too.”
Experience is what Albion have been lacking in recent weeks, according to Thompson.
Defender Steve Nicholson is injured and is likely to be absent from Saturday’s trip across the Pennines, while Dale Kelly has only recently returned to first-team action and is nearing full fitness.
Captain Adam Hayton has also been sidelined through injury and Kurtis Noble has joined him in the treatment room and will face six-eight weeks out with a broken jaw sustained in Saturday’s 2-0 home loss against Harrogate Railway Athletic.
That defeat ranks as the worst of the season for Thompson, whose aim is now to help Albion avoid a drop into the Northern Counties East League.
“Other people may say differently but Saturday’s performance against Harrogate was the worst of the season for me,” he commented.
“The performance was really flat, there was a lack of stomach from the players and it was a real slap in the face for the people involved with the football club.
“Hopefully it was an isolated performance because we’ve had the effort and endeavour from the players all through the season.
“There’s only one relegation place this season but there are four or five clubs that will be involved in that come the end of the season and we’re one of them, there’s no getting away from that now.”
Railway were one of the teams Albion will have had an eye on catching in the table ahead of Saturday’s defeat at Dimple Wells.
Chances were at a premium in a lacklustre first half and Albion were fortunate seven minutes into the second half when Harrogate scored a penalty but were ordered to take it again and saw the effort saved by Albion goalkeeper Adam Rhodes.
The hosts looked as though they may bag their first point of 2013 from the contest but Daniel Hull fired Railway ahead with 15 minutes to go and Alex Hallam rubbed salt into the Albion wounds with a second goal in the 88th minute.
Things get no easier at fourth-placed Clitheroe this weekend, so long as the current cold snap does not force a postponement.
It’s a game that should heavily favour the on-song hosts but Thompson can take heart from his side’s performances against the so-called bigger teams this season.
“It’s weird because we’ve not done badly against good teams this season,” he said.
“We beat North Ferriby [in the FA Cup], saw off Farsley over three games earlier in the season and gave Bradford Park Avenue a real good game before they scored two late goals.
“We need to go to places like that and execute what we’re about and what we’ve been working on and not worry too much about the other teams.
“We’ve not been totally hammered this season other than the Ramsbottom game, we’ve always been competitive.
“We need to get a return from that though. I’ve looked through the results and seen teams get hammered but then produce a result from somewhere the next week”
Albion’s game at Clitheroe kicks-off at 3pm tomorrow, Saturday, weather permitting, and their next home match comes against Warrington Town on Saturday, February 26 (kick-off 3pm).
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest football news from around the district.