Blues boss Nathan Haslam looking forward to South Shields test on Boxing Day

Whitby Town manager Nathan Haslam says he is “looking forward to being back in action” as his side prepare to return to league action on Boxing Day.
Aaron Braithwaite in action during the 1-1 draw at home to HydeAaron Braithwaite in action during the 1-1 draw at home to Hyde
Aaron Braithwaite in action during the 1-1 draw at home to Hyde

South Shields provide the opposition at The First Cloud Arena for a 3pm kick-off in what will be Whitby’s first NPL Premier Division fixture for almost three weeks, writes Liam Ryder.

The team’s last outing in the league saw them draw 1-1 at home to high-flying Hyde, but after the recent cold weather and their fixture against Guiseley being postponed due to the Lions’ progress in the Isuzu FA Trophy, Town have not played since Tuesday, 6 December.

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Weather permitting, they should have played Boro Rangers in the North Riding Senior Cup on Wednesday evening.

Whitby Town manager Nathan HaslamWhitby Town manager Nathan Haslam
Whitby Town manager Nathan Haslam

“It’s going to be a hard game for us at South Shields, we know that,” said Haslam, who has seen his side go four unbeaten in the league. “For us, the next objective is to extend our run and that’s what we’re looking for, whoever we play.”

Their draw with Hyde almost three weeks ago, which was their last game, came on the back of two successive wins for the first time this season - against Atherton and Liversedge - and was a positive performance against a side targeting promotion.

“There’s a good groups of lads in the changing room, we’ve said that all season,” Haslam told The Whitby Gazette. “It’s really started to show over the last few weeks.

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“They’ve all got a good attitude and they all stick together. I think with the bad start to the season we were always playing catch up but credit to the lads, their attitude’s been spot on.”

Boss Haslam felt the pressure following a last gasp defeat to Lancaster City, and a disappointing draw at bottom of the table Belper Town in November, but, following the recent upturn in form, he is feeling a sense of relief and feels that his outfit can well and truly turn their fortunes around.

“Consistency is massive in this league and we’re starting to show signs of building some momentum.

“It’s been very hard for us to get any consistency this season, shown by it taking us 20 games to get back-to-back wins.

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“Fair play to the lads as they’ve gone about their business professionally in recent weeks. We’ve looked more controlled in terms of our performances.”

As much as there has been little action on the pitch the Seasiders recently, their community work off the pitch has continued.