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