Shay chief Neil Aspin says top scorer Dale Johnson needs to work harder if he is to reclaim his place in the starting line-up.
Johnson came off the bench at half time against his former club Droylsden and changed Town’s fortunes for the better - even scoring a superb solo goal himself.
His nine goals have come in seven different games and many of them have proved decisive - but his form has been disrupted following his sending off at Chester last month and he has started just one of Town’s last six games, excluding the County Cup.
Aspin left out both Johnson and Lee Gregory - who has scored just once since mid-September - for the visit of Droylsden, giving young striker Alex Johnson, signed from Clitheroe, a chance to impress alongside Gareth Seddon and loanee Alex Titchiner.
“I think Alex Johnson is a young lad who deserved a start and he needs to be introduced to this level of football,” said Aspin.
“I think he did well. He kept the ball and worked hard. It’s difficult to make the step up but he showed he can cope with it.
“But because Droylsden were having a lot of possession I thought it would be better if we could bring Dale on and he could play in the hole which gives us an extra man in midfield areas and I thought it worked well. It was more of a tactical switch rather than anything to do with how Alex was doing.”
On Dale himself, Aspin said: “If you every play against your former club you want to do well. He will be frustrated that he’s not come back into the team because he’s done well for me this season. He’s scored goals and as a goalscorer you can always say ‘look at my goal return’, and his is good.
“Dale is a lad I’ve watched for a number of years at non-league level. He has great feet and great ability but I want him to work harder and if he can do that then he’s a very talented goalscorer.”