Frickley Athletic manager Dave Frecklington gearing up for a relegation scrap

Frickley Athletic manager Dave Frecklington says his side are now in a relegation battle after seeing them narrowly miss out once again in losing 1-0 at home to Hebburn Town in the Pitching In Northern Premier League East.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 12:05 pm
Frustrated Frickley Athletic manager Dave Frecklington. Picture: Onion Bag Photos

The Blues have been contending in almost every game they have played this season, but have been unable to win as many games as their performances have deserved and after losing three of their last four matches, drawing the other one, they have slid down the table to 13th.

Now comes a potential six-pointer at local rivals Pontefract Collieries on Monday (kick-off 3pm) in the game being dubbed “El-Classicoal”.

With just three points now between the teams Ponte could go above Athletic in the table with a victory so there is much at stake for both sides.

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It did not help Frickley’s cause that they were down to bare bones for their latest game with only 13 players to call on, including the assistant manager, because of injuries, illness and suspensions and it was a frustrated manager Frecklington after the match.

He said: “I hate to say it, but we are in a relegation battle.

“The constant change of players, the constant turnover of players and unavailability, covid – we lost our skipper and the management team’s been hit by it. We only had two on the bench, including our assistant manager.

“We’ve got the worst goals for record in the league so that means we are in a relegation scrap. We missed three open goals.

“The first 20 minutes we looked like a team that was playing in a Sunday League.

“They could have been out of sight in the first 20 minutes, but we somehow got in at 0-0, changed shape and got better. But they got the goal when we didn’t track the runner again – one or two look like they’re not fit enough.

“They give everything they’ve got, but some just can’t handle the pace and some of them aren’t good enough to play at this level.

“I know where we’re at now as a group. I told them four or five weeks ago that this team’s got loads of potential. But we keep losing players – it’s been the story of the season – and then you are constantly having to run around to get more players in.

“It’s going to be a season where we need to roll our sleeves up. I need to start recruiting players now it’s the winter months. Halfway through the season we’re nowhere near good enough to get anywhere near the play-offs and we need to get a team of men that will scrap and fight to try and nick points.

“In my 10 years of management it’s the worst run I’ve ever been on and it doesn’t sit well.”

Frecklington is promising another overhaul of players as he strives to get the tam back up the league.

He said: “This is a really good football club, which has got a massive tradition and history and you have to play a certain way here.

“Unfortunately through a number of factors we’ve lost some really good players and that’s just the way it goes – you’ve got to stand up and be counted. You’ve got to take responsibility and that stays with me, I’m responsible for the team and results.

“Players have had opportunities now to play and some of them are just not good enough.

“We’ve lost half the games we’ve played after winning four of the first five and I think we’ve won one in 14 and there’s no excuses, it’s not been good enough.

“I need to change that round very quickly and get some men in who will roll their sleeves up instead of looking good with wrist tape on and tape round their ankles. I’ve got the recruitment wrong. A lot of it’s forced when you’ve got to pick a team and a squad – and that’s non-league football – but unfortunately at the moment we’re not good enough. I’ll make sure that gets put right.”

Frecklington added: “I thought we’d turned a corner. We had a lot of good performances, but were getting draws then the Stocksbridge win you’re thinking here we go. But then we lose

Pierrepont, we lose Crouz, West and you’re rebuilding again – and that was only three weeks ago.

“But you either feel sorry for yourself or you stick your chest out and come out swinging like me and (Leon) Mettam will always do and turn a corner.

“We’ve got half a season left and have some good local derbies to look forward to.

“They’re the games we’d love to play in, big crowd, local derby, point to prove, on a bad run, I wish I could play.”