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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Workington Reds can push for play-offs

Despite being forced to endure a prolonged festive break, Workington Reds remain within striking distance of the play-offs and are ready to charge, says midfielder Mark Boyd.

But boss Darren Edmondson has been forced to sign young Newcastle United goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell after regular No1 Aaran Taylor snapped a bone in his wrist.

Taylor broke the bone on Christmas Eve after a freak incident.

The self-employed joiner fell off a ladder, and will spend the next six weeks in a cast.

No time frame has been put on Taylor’s return, with specialists needing to examine the injury after the cast comes off.

Edmondson described Taylor’s absence as a major blow for the club.

Mitchell, a 5ft 11in shotstopper, is only 18 but has been recommended by the coaching staff at Newcastle.

He has played for the U18 and reserve side.

Edmondson is also searching for a more experienced goalkeeper and hopes to make another signing in the coming weeks.

He said: “What happened to Aaran was a freak accident, but one that has cost us a great player for a prolonged period.

“Aaran fell off a ladder, and broke a bone in his wrist. He’s got to wear a cast for six weeks, and then go for more scans.

“I don’t know when he’ll be back, but we had to move quickly to replace him.

“Jonathan comes to us highly recommended by the staff at Newcastle.

“They have done us a big favour, by letting us take him.

“It was getting desperate on Christmas Eve hunting for a keeper to come in for the Harrogate game. There were some frantic phone calls being made.

“Jonathan is a strong boy with a good reputation at Newcastle.

“He’s only 18, and I am still looking for someone more experienced to come in.

“Goalkeeper is a crucial position, and we’ve been spoiled over the last few years with Adam Collin, Tony Caig, and Aaran.

“This is an unfortunate situation, and we need an experienced head to come in and marshal the defence.

“Calls are still being made, and hopefully we have another keeper in to add competition to the squad very soon.”

Postponed games against runaway leaders Chester and Harrogate have left Workington’s players with little to do since the 4-1 demolition of Stalybridge Celtic two weeks ago.

Even without kicking a ball, Reds are just five points off the Gainsborough Trinity in the final play-off spot, and have two games in hand on their rivals.

Tomorrow, Workington travel to Vauxhall Motors, with Harrogate visiting West Cumbria on New Year’s Day.

Reds have no worries about travelling as they haven’t lost to Vauxhall in four years, and are currently five games unbeaten on the road.

Since that 3-0 defeat to Motors in 2008, Workington have come out on top in seven of eight clashes, including the last five clashes.

Boyd said Reds must maintain their decent form, if they are to push on for the league’s top spots.

He said: “We will definitely be there or there abouts.

“There aren’t many teams in this league that are better than us.

“We need to put a run together, and keep playing the way we have been.

“We got spanked off Bradford, but that was a freak result. We are better than that and proved how good we can be in other games.

“But if we are going to push on and try make the play-offs then we need to go to Vauxhall and win.

“They are a team we have done well against recently, but that counts for nothing after that first whistle blows.

“The play-offs has to be the ultimate target, but it’ll be tough, we know that.

“But this team are not quitters. We will continue to fight for every point.”

Edmondson praised the work Motors boss Carl Macauley, and said: “Carl has done a fantastic job.

“With the budget he’s working with, he deserves a lot more recognition than he’s had.

“He’s got a shoestring to work with, and is not only keeping Vauxhall above the relegation zone, but well clear.

“We won’t go there and expect to win, despite our recent form.

“We know it’ll be tough, and we have to win every tackle, and take every chance.

“The same can be said for Harrogate on New Year’s Day.

“But the lads have had time off to mentally prepare for these matches.

“We never like having time off, but all the players have looked after themselves, not eaten too much, and will be raring to go.”

Vauxhall have lost three of their last five home games, while Harrogate also have a patchy record.

Simon Weaver’s men have just one win in five away matches.

“We take nothing for granted,” said Edmondson.

“Neither Vauxhall nor Harrogate are in great form, but we have to match their enthusiasm and determination.

“A top 10 finish would be a great achievement for us.

“I’m not looking at the play-offs.

“There is too much football to play between now and the end of the season.”

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