National League North: Altrincham looking for new boss while fellow strugglers Stalybridge demand improvement

ALTRINCHAM are looking for their 6th boss in just over a year after advertising the manager’s position.

Matt Doughty has been interim boss since Jim Harvey was sacked in December and although results have finally improved in recent weeks, the Alty board felt it wasn’t enough to hand Doughty the job permanently without considering other candidates.

After a run of 8 points from a possible 18, the Robins lost to Nuneaton Town last Tuesday and were then beaten 2-1 at Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday, which means they remain bottom of the National League North.

Alty are 16 points from safety with 6 games left so will be relegated to the Evo-Stik Premier if they don’t win Saturday’s derby at promotion-chasing Salford City.

The club is looking for someone to take charge of the team at the end of this season so will be interviewing in April, although Doughty and assistant Robbie Lawton will be given a chance to stake their claim as they are on the shortlist.

A club statement read: “The position of Altrincham manager beyond this season was discussed by the board of directors at their monthly meeting. The matter was given careful thought and consideration, and it was noted there has been an upturn in performances and, more recently, results since Matt Doughty and Robbie Lawton took charge.

“Compared to the 1st half of the season, there have been welcome signs of greater organisation, spirit and endeavour on the pitch. However, it was felt by the board that this in itself did not justify the automatic re-appointment of Matt and Robbie for next season and that to give us the optimum opportunity of recruiting the best possible candidate to take the club forward, the position should be advertised.”

Alty chairman Grahame Rowley told a recent fans’ forum that the club would go all-out to win promotion straight back to the National League. The closing date for applications is Monday, April 3.

The statement added: “We are looking for driven and ambitious candidates with a proven track record of building and sustaining a team that delivers success. This is an exciting opportunity to restore the fortunes of one of non-league football’s best-known names, and the successful applicant will be given a more than competitive budget, commensurate with our objectives for next season.”

Celtic right-back Danny Morton holds off Alty winger Elliot Newby

However, STALYBRIDGE CELTIC have also vowed to bounce straight back if they go down from the National League North – and there will be only 2 promotion spots up for grabs.

They too had shown some positive signs following the return of Steve Burr as manager but that hope already seems to have evaporated.

After a thrilling win over Bradford PA and a draw at Altrincham, 2nd-bottom Bridge lost 1-0 against 4th-bottom Worcester then 2-0 against 6th-bottom AFC Telford on Tuesday night.

Celtic lost defender Matt Regan to an early hamstring injury before Ben Bailey and Stockport County loanee John Marsden scored in the 2nd half. Bridge had a chance to pull one back when they won a penalty with 10 minutes left but sub Danny Pilkington’s spot-kick was saved.

Burr admitted afterwards that the last 2 games have been “really poor”, saying the players didn’t show him anything which encouraged him. Celtic also have a derby this Saturday as they visit their former tenants FC United. They cannot be relegated yet as although they’re 14 points adrift, they have 9 games left.

Burr has promised there will be an improvement between now and the end of the season and while survival may be beyond them too, he has challenged his players to show that they still want to be at the club next season.