Alun Armstrong has blasted his Blyth Spartans players ahead of this weekend’s visit of Chester FC after he branded the first half of their last match as ‘disgusting’ and ‘unacceptable’.
The Blues head to the North East on Saturday sitting third in the National League North table after an opening day draw against Spennymoor Town and a 3-0 win on Monday evening over Curzon Ashton.
Their latest game takes them to Croft Park and what will be their longest away day of the campaign.
And their opponents have had a nightmare start to the season, losing away to Hereford on the opening day and following it up with a home loss earlier this week against Bradford (Park Avenue ), conceding five goals over the two fixtures which has left them second bottom of the table at this early stage.
Following their most recent defeat against the Bradford side, Spartans boss Armstrong did not hold back on his assessment of the performance and said his players need to apologise to the Blyth fans.
He told the club’s official website: “The first half was disgusting, we went through them at half time as the performance was unacceptable.
“At the moment we seem to be a little bit fragile and lack match fitness, we’ve worked them hard in pre-season but players have been missing for one reason or another and we haven’t been able to gel as I would have liked.
“We’ve also brought in a few players late in the day, which isn’t ideal.
“The lads need to take better care of themselves away from the club – I’ll do everything I can here to help them as players, but they need to take it on themselves to work at it away from training.
“We were really good in the second half, Jamie Holmes was exceptional after the break.
“If we play like we did in the second half we’ll be fine, if we play like the first we’ll get a few hidings.
“Disappointing all-in-all, the players owe the fans an apology for the first half display, but in the second half I couldn’t ask for anything more from the lads.”
Chester’s team news ahead of the game includes forward Matty Hughes now being available for selection after being suspended for the opening two games, while a decision will be taken on midfielder Scott Burton’s fitness following training.
Striker Dean Smalley, who signed for the Blues last week after a trial spell, is awaiting his registration to be cleared in order to play for the Blues, although the club are hopeful it will be forthcoming in time for the trip to the North East this weekend.
For the Spartans, Armstrong believes striker Dan ‘Nipa’ Maguire needs more game time improve his fitness and that Brad Fewster may be given an opportunity against the Blues.
He said: “Nipa takes a while to get going, he always has, he’s snatching at his shots at the moment, but he’s not fully fit, we’ll be fine when he gets his fitness back to where it needs to be.”
“There is a chance we’ll give Brad (Fewster) a chance, but Nipa needs to play games to get his fitness up, it’s a catch twenty-two really.”