ALTRINCHAM were handed a timely boost this week as they hope the FA Cup can provide a shot in the arm for their season.
A poor start after relegation to the National League North saw Neil Young resign and new boss Jim Harvey’s bid to get the Robins up and running has been complicated by injury problems. He even had to play strikers Danny Hattersley and Craig Hobson at centre-half in Tuesday night’s 4-1 defeat at Nuneaton Town.
But a cash injection has handed Harvey the chance to strengthen his squad before Saturday’s home tie against Gainsborough Trinity in the FA Cup second qualifying round. Alty youth product Duncan Watmore (pictured above), who was sold to Sunderland in 2013, made his 10th Premier League start against Everton on Monday, triggering a five-figure payment which had been agreed as one of the add-ons.
The Alty board made the full amount available to Harvey and so far he has signed 20-year-old left-back Josh Doherty on a month’s loan from Leyton Orient.
“Due to the situation we find ourselves in, it will all go into the playing budget for Jim to use to make the changes he feels are necessary,” said Alty chairman Grahame Rowley. “More than ever, this is a time for everyone to rally round and stick together. We are at our strongest when we are sharing the same objectives and working together to try and make them happen. As a board, we want nothing more than a successful team out on the pitch, and it’s clear our supporters want it just as much.
“We all make mistakes, no-one is perfect, but we all have the good of the club at heart and want to see an end to this nosedive in our fortunes. Jim has been working overtime since taking over to try and bring new faces in and arrange outgoing moves in an effort to eradicate the losing mentality that seems to have set in. Hopefully in the next few days and weeks, those changes will start to take effect.”
Emile Sinclair and Adam Sumner have left the Robins while winger Billy Hasler-Cregg has joined Droylsden on a month’s loan. Alan Goodall and Sam Heathcote were ill in the week but should be fit to face Gainsborough. Alty are hoping to get permission from Forest Green to play on-loan defender Jon Moran while keeper Tim Deasy and centre-half John Cyrus should be fit enough to return.
The most exciting tie of the round from a local perspective sees Alty’s league rivals STOCKPORT COUNTY host a derby with HYDE UNITED, who are the lowest-ranked local side in the competition.
After two tough league games against the National League North’s joint-leaders Harrogate and Fylde, FC UNITED aim to get back on track at Ossett Town. CURZON ASHTON could also do with a boost having slipped to fourth-bottom and they have a home tie against Consett AFC.
Second-bottom STALYBRIDGE CELTIC are away to Witton Albion while SALFORD CITY, whose unbeaten start has just come to a halt with two successive league defeats, visit Bradford Park Avenue again after beating them on their club-record run to the second round last season. Hyde’s Evo-Stik North rivals TRAFFORD ended Cheadle Town’s run to make it through and earn a trip to Bishop Auckland.