Richie McLoughlin has hailed the strength in depth that he has at his disposal as he looks to turn the fortunes of his Jarrow Roofing side around in 2017.
The South Tynesiders head into tomorrow’s clash against Marske United on the back of a narrow defeat to South Shields in the Durham Challenge Cup, while their inconsistent league form since the start of the season has left them sitting in 19th position in the Ebac Northern League Division 1.
However, McLoughlin believes that he has witnessed several positives recently – namely, the emergence of several young players that has given the Roofing boss the belief that his side can turn in a positive second half to the season.
“We were missing numerous experienced players for Monday’s game,” he said. “It was up to the young lads to dig deep against our local rivals to do themselves proud, and I think they did that.
“Monday showed me that we can compete with some of the best, no matter what sort of team we put out on the pitch.
“We now have a great combination of young lads and more experienced heads, and this strength in depth will come in very useful as the season goes on.
“It’s a long season, and everyone needs to have a good attitude and the desire to perform to their best if we are to put together a run of good results.
“We have been putting a lot of hard work in during training, and I think we are starting to see those attitudes come through.
“I’m a lot happier now than I was at the start of the season, and I believe we are beginning to lay down the foundations that will allow us to progress in the future.
“I just hope we can carry on the good work we’ve been making into tomorrow’s tough away trip to Marske.”
Roofing make the trip to North Yorkshire to take on a Marske side who have won three out of their last four fixtures.
However, they suffered a shock defeat last time out to relegation-threatened Guisborough Town.
“There’s no doubt that we are going to have to fight for the win against Marske,” McLoughlin added.
“They are a very good side – especially at home. They always get stuck in and they don’t give you a second on the ball, so we will need to match that intensity if we are to come away with the win.”
Dan Kirkup, Arjun Purewal, Darryll Donnelly, Lee Kerr, Ross Toward, Chris Winn, Shaun Vipond and Paul Gardiner are all set to return to the squad for the trip to Marske, and Roofing will be boosted further by the fact that striker Paul Chow has returned to the club, too.
Chow played in Monday’s match at South Shields. The multiple-time FA Vase winner left the club in November to take a break from football, but McLoughlin admits his return should prove to be a lift to everyone at the club.
“I didn’t expect him to be back so soon, but I’m glad he has decided to come back to us.
“He’s had a break for a few months, but he’s still looking as sharp as ever. He was excellent on Monday, and his experience should prove to be a massive help to the younger players we have here.”