MANAGER Tom Baker is relieved to see TRAFFORD’s injury problems ease ahead of today’s derby with MOSSLEY in the Evo-Stik North.
Trafford’s bid to chase down leaders Lancaster City was dealt a blow in midweek as they lost 2-0 away to Prescot Cables, leaving them 11 points adrift in 3rd place.
Baker even had to name himself and his assistant Chris Shuker on the bench they were that short of players in midweek. While Baker had to retire early with a knee injury, he is still only 31 and played in the Manchester Premier Cup earlier this season.
But that situation was far from ideal for a side looking to secure a play-off spot at the very least this season so Baker is itching for Trafford to get back on track as they welcome their local rivals to Shawe View.
He told Beyond the Big Two: “Even as a player I was tickly if we’d got beat, or I had a bad game, I couldn’t wait for the next one, and it’s even worse as a manager. You never seem to switch off, win or lose, but it is worse after a Tuesday. You just can’t wait for the next game, it can’t come soon enough.
“You want to put things right, or you want the players to put things right. But that’s football, the ups and downs. The emotions are crazy here.”
Trafford encapsulated that in the last week alone, winning last Saturday’s derby at DROYLSDEN 3-0 before losing 2-0 on Merseyside 3 days later.
“The last 2 games, our backs have really been against the wall. We’ve had so many injuries,” Baker said. “We’ve had 7 out of a squad of 18 injured/suspended and it’s been in pivotal areas. It included both my centre-halves, both my centre-forwards and Jack Dorney out wide, so we’ve been up against it.
“Droylsden had really strengthened that week (signing Joe Connor and Ciaran Kilheeney), so to go there and win 3-0 was a really good performance. Then you go to Prescot and I knew what to expect, I knew we’d have to be as good as we were at Droylsden, and we were simply weren’t. We had 12 players, I had to name myself and my assistant on the bench. Still, the 11 that started were more than good enough, we just didn’t perform on the night and Prescot did.”
Centre-half Alex Frost and striker Aaron Burns are available again for today’s clash. Attacking midfielder Andy Keogh is carrying a knock but won’t play as part of a gentleman’s agreement with Mossley, who waived the 7-day notice when he left the Lilywhites for Trafford earlier this month.
Mossley beat Radcliffe Borough 2-1 on Valentine’s Day and have since bolstered their squad, bringing in Mohamud Ali, Hafeez Hamzat and Danny Stapleton. But last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Goole was their 6 defeat in 7 and left the Lilywhites 3rd-bottom in the table.
Baker added: “It’s another tough game. I’ve not had an easy game against themsince I’ve been manager. They’re really big, really strong, and they’ll roll their sleeves up and have a real good fight.
“The lads know what to expect and, hopefully, after a bit of a kick up the backside on Tuesday we’ll see a response. We’ve got a big 4 or 5 weeks coming up but, game by game, we’ll just try to keep putting points on the board and see where that takes us in 10 games’ time.”
Mid-table DROYLSDEN are away to 2nd-bottom Goole while HYDE UNITED, who are a point below the Bloods in 13th and re-signed Chris Sutherland on loan from Macclesfield this week, have a trip to Burscough.
RAMSBOTTOM UNITED home game with Scarborough Athletic and RADCLIFFE BOROUGH’s against Ossett Town were both postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
ASHTON UNITED are away to Rushall Olympic, who like them are mid-table in the Evo-Stik Premier.