Shaymen must man up at home

Town must step up to the plate at the Shay if they are to make an impact on the Blue Square Bet North promotion race.

That is the message from boss Neil Aspin as he prepares his side to entertain rock bottom Blyth Spartans tomorrow (3.0).

The Shaymen have one of the best records on the road in the division and extended their winning run away from home to three matches with victory at Workington in midweek.

But their home record is littered with disappointing performances and results, including defeat to Altrincham last weekend.

“The top and bottom of it is that if we are going to do anything this season we have to win games at home,” he said.

“It has been very frustrating but all we need is a couple of good results.”

Blyth will arrive at the Shay at the bottom of the table having picked up just three points from nine away games this season.

But Aspin has warned his players to take nothing for granted as they look to climb up to sixth.

“I don’t think it matters where Blyth are in the table because on a bad day we are capable of losing to anyone,” he said. “We have to defend better than we have at home and we have to be better on the ball as well.

“If we win tomorrow we will be sixth which would not be a bad start to the season.

“But it doesn’t feel like a good start because so many home games have left a bad taste in my mouth.

“You only have to look at our games against Vauxhall Motors, Tadcaster Albion and Altrincham, to pick out just three, to know you cannot underestimate any team you play.

“It would be ridiculous to do that and Blyth, who have a good tradition in non league, are fighting to stay in the division.

“Our away form has kept us in contention. We must get the home form right and this is an important game.

“Psychologically we can take a big step forward tomorrow.”

Town’s home form has not only been frustrating for Aspin, the fans have suffered as well.

“If you are a supporter who only watches us at home you will have seen a team low on confidence, a team that has defended as badly as I have seen and you would be wondering how we have picked up points away.

“If you watch the away games as well you would think that we are a side that is not too far off.

“As a supporter I would want to see my team play better.”

Liam Hogan and Scott McManus play their final game before serving one-match bans for reaching five cautions for the season and for that reason, Aspin will not risk Aaron Hardy tomorrow even if he has recovered sufficiently from a twisted ankle.