McLoughlin says now is the time to give Jarrow Roofing fringe players their chance

Jarrow Roofing's Mark Collingwood and Richie McLoughlin
Jarrow Roofing's Mark Collingwood and Richie McLoughlin

Richie McLoughlin says that Jarrow Roofing’s fringe players will get the chance to impress over the next few weeks as the South Tynesiders head into the last few games of the season.

With just 10 games left of an eventful Ebac Northern League Division 1 campaign, the Roofers have managed to finally create a sizeable gap between them and the final relegation spot.

Tuesday’s impressive away win at Seaham Red Star saw them open up a 14-point gap on Guisborough Town, and McLoughlin says that now is the ideal time to give other members of the squad some much-needed time on the pitch as the club casts one eye on next season.

“It’s very difficult to select the team each week,” the Roofing boss said.

“We have depth in virtually every position now, and that comes with both positives and negatives.

“It helps to keep everyone on their toes, but it also means that some players aren’t getting as much game-time as they would like.

“The situation has not been helped by the fact that we’ve been on a good run of form recently.

“We’ve managed to send a settled side out most weeks, and you want to try and keep that when you’re doing well.

“However, Colly and I feel that the time is right to change things a little bit, and we will be looking to give everyone the chance to show what they can do over the coming weeks.

“Everybody has played their part in helping us move away from trouble, and it’s only fair that everyone gets their chance – and we may start putting that into action when we go to Whitley Bay tomorrow.”

At times this season, Roofing have come close to dropping into the relegation zone, but an upturn in form and the struggles that Guisborough have encountered on the pitch recently have eased those fears slightly, and McLoughlin thinks that the extra breathing space will give his side the confidence they need to finish the season strongly.

“Colly and I never thought that we would go down this season, but it’s not too long ago that we were in a real battle.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are now and we know the job is not finished yet, but we have made things a lot easier for ourselves with our recent good performances.

“The players knew they were too good to go down, and they’ve started to back that confidence up on the pitch. They deserve huge credit for getting us to this position.

“We’ve gone into every match with the desire to win, remained confident and just took it one week at a time. I hope we can now start looking up instead of down.”

Tomorrow’s match at Hillheads Park sees two in-form sides go head-to-head.

Both are on a four-match unbeaten run, but Whitley Bay have won their last three, while Roofing have drawn their last two.

And McLoughlin admits the game is too close to call. “It’s very hard to pick a winner,” he added.

“Both sides are full of confidence at the minute, so it will be a case of who wants it more on the day.

“They had us watched down at Seaham, so they will be aware of the quality we have and they will certainly know they have been in a game.”