National League: Salford City won't rest on their laurels

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley (BBC)

ANTHONY Johnson and Bernard Morley are enjoying their best-ever start in management – but there is no danger of them resting on their laurels.

The managerial duo have led SALFORD CITY to an unbeaten start in the club’s first-ever season at step two, with the Ammies briefly joint-top of the National League North after Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw at AFC Fylde.

And although the Ammies are riding the crest of a wave after winning back-to-back promotions and appearing on BBC1, the former Ramsbottom United pair are wise enough to know it’s too early to make any bold predictions about what they can achieve this season.

“This is our eighth season as managers and it’s our best-ever start after five games,” Johnson told Beyond the Big Two. “We’re unbeaten, till Wednesday night we were joint-top, so it’s been a great start. But it counts for little if we go and lose our next five.

“The first five games don’t prove anything. What is does is show that if we’re 100%, if the lads can raise their game a bit every week, then I have no doubt we can finish top five. But also, I know what semi-pro footballers are like. You might put in great performances against FC United and Fylde but then you play supposedly less fashionable sides and come unstuck.”

Johnson added: “We said before last weekend that we’d see where we are because we were playing two full-time teams – Nuneaton on the Saturday and then Fylde. Both games were away from home, in a new division, and we came away with four points – and it could have been six. It was a great barometer of how well we can do, provided we’re at it 100% every game.”

Tuesday night’s performance was particularly impressive as it came against a side which were second favourites for the title at the start of the season, and Johnson felt the game was a great advert for the National League North.

“I don’t often say it because you’ve always got a vested interest in what’s going on in the game, but it was absolutely brilliant,” he said. “We wish we could have won but the quality of the two sides, it was two teams going at it hammer and tongs.

“We always set our team up to win but both were trying to win the game. It doesn’t happen enough. We were in front twice but both sides kept going and it was probably a fair result in the end.”

Salford return to Moor Lane on Saturday to face Gainsborough Trinity before playing what promises to be an entertaining derby at CURZON ASHTON on Bank Holiday Monday. Richie Allen is available again after being ineligible to face his former club Fylde, while Brad Barnes and Harry Worley are returning to full fitness.

“Gainsborough are an established Conference North side, they know what it takes to operate in this league,” Johnson added. “For some reason the bookies don’t seem to favour them much this season but they beat Altrincham 2-0 last week so we’ll make sure the boys have the same mentality as in midweek.”

ALTRINCHAM aim for their first win at home to Curzon on Saturday before visiting Kidderminster on Monday. STALYBRIDGE are level with Alty after losing their last four and host Gloucester before travelling to Chorley.

STOCKPORT COUNTY could do with a lift at AFC Telford on Saturday, before hosting second-bottom Worcester on Monday. FC UNITED are just below the Hatters having won one and lost one from their five games. They visit Brackley then host Darlington this weekend.

MACCLESFIELD suffered a disappointing defeat at Sutton in the Vanarama National League last week and aim to get back to winning ways at home to Lincoln. The Silkmen are then away to Solihull Moors on Monday.