‘We must make most of home com­forts,’ in­sists boss Baker

Leek Post & Times - - FOOTBALL - By Jim Han­nah sports­[email protected]­p­o­stand­times.co.uk

LEEK Town man­ager Neil Baker says his play­ers must make the most of the next two games if they are to stay in touch with the front-run­ners in the Evo-stik West Divi­sion.

Blues ended a mis­er­able month results-wise on a win­ning note at the week­end when they re­turned from Moss­ley with a wel­come 2-0 win un­der their belts.

But it was only their sec­ond win in Novem­ber, fol­low­ing league de­feats to Run­corn Lin­nets (1-0), Ather­ton Col­lieries (1-0) and Colne (3-2). The de­feat left Leek down in a mid-ta­ble spot, but with home games com­ing up against Ken­dal Town on Satur­day and Col­wyn Bay the fol­low­ing week­end, it’s a chance to make up some ground.

How­ever, Baker in­sists no team can be taken for granted, de­spite both Ken­dal and Col­wyn Bay sit­ting in the bot­tom half of the ta­ble.

“We’ve been there be­fore,” said Baker, re­fer­ring to past de­feats at home to teams well be­low them in the ta­ble.

“You only have to look at ear­lier this sea­son when Clitheroe ar­rived with­out a win to their name, but they put that right at our place. Last sea­son Gres­ley were bat­tling against rel­e­ga­tion, but again, came to our place and turned us over. No mat­ter who you are play­ing, you have got to be on top of your game right from the start.

“Of­ten you are ex­pected to win at home, but this is a tight league, per­haps miss­ing the qual­ity of the likes of a Bas­ford or Alvechurch, but there are a lot of de­cent teams in this divi­sion.”

Baker is likely to keep faith with a back four which he had noth­ing but praise for af­ter sur­viv­ing what he de­scribed as a first-half bom­bard­ment at Moss­ley.

In­juries to ex­pe­ri­enced de­fen­ers Dar­ren Chad­wick and Scott Lycett, meant Baker had to go with new sign­ings Jack San­ders (19) and Crewe loa­nee Billy Saas-davies (18) in the mid­dle of de­fence with Niall Green and Lewis Short as the full-backs.

How­ever, Short was forced off with a ham­string in­jury which meant academy player Jessy Bav­a­ganga (17) was forced into ac­tion at right­back, with Green switch­ing over to the left-hand side.

Baker says de­spite the in­ex­pe­ri­ence, he thought they were ex­cel­lent as a unit.

“Con­sid­er­ing I had three teenagers in the back four, I was de­lighted with the clean sheet. They threw ev­ery­thing at us in the first half, set pieces, long throws, but the lads stood up to the test. I thought all four, plus goal­keeper Danny Roberts, were fan­tas­tic,” said the man­ager.

Lycett and Chad­wick are ex­pected to be an­other week away, so all four could be on duty again this week, although Baker in­di­cated he was look­ing to bring some­one in this week.

“With three se­nior de­fend­ers out of ac­tion and with Mat Bai­ley and Joe Kearns hav­ing left the club, I may need to bring some­one in,” said the man­ager.

Tim Grice scored the first goal at Moss­ley on Satur­day af­ter 20 min­utes af­ter be­ing set up by Rob Steven­son and then Jor­dan John­son dou­bled Leek’s lead on 53 min­utes.

Baker, pic­tured, said they could have had more goals. “They saw a lot of the ball, but we de­fended well and with the pace we have in our side we are al­ways go­ing to cre­ate chances and that was the case at Moss­ley. Steven­son and Grice both missed chances and had chances saved. Moss­ley felt they were mugged, but I don’t think that was the case.”

Aaron Bott re­placed Grice in the sec­ond half, while

Dan Trick­ett-smith was an un­used sub­sti­tute as he con­tin­ues his re­cov­ery from a groin in­jury.

“I didn’t think it was the type of game to risk Dan in, he’s get­ting his fit­ness back but I don’t want to push him too hard un­til he is 100 per cent, but I don’t think that’s too far off,” added Baker.

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