Non-League Matters: Altrincham manager Lee Sinnott targets third place Brackley Town in promotion race

By Matt Davies

Altrincham are setting their sights high for the remainder of the season, with manager Lee Sinnott targeting a third-placed finish in the Blue Square Bet North.

The Robins face Corby Town at Moss Lane this weekend, looking to extend an unbeaten run stretching back seven games.

Sinnott feels that the title is out of reach after Chester’s incredible start to the campaign, but refused to rule out a charge towards Brackley Town.

“I would say without a shadow of a doubt that first or second is gone, those two places will be allocated but I’m not ruling out third, fourth or fifth – those three places in the play-offs,” he said.

Brackley in third, remain ten points clear of Alty following defeat in midweek, but Sinnott is confident his side can overcome the deficit.

“They are ten points ahead of us which is a major thing to pull back but we have two games in hand now and if we win those, that’s back to four points,” he added.

“And then it comes into the realm where it’s anything to play for.”

He did however express concerns that the bad weather could play a major role in the race for the play-off places, following the postponement of Tuesday’s clash with Droylsden.

“Whereas you’ve played half a season theoretically in five months, you have got to play the other half in probably three months so it’s going to congest things,” explained Sinnott.

“There could be strange results going on because people are regularly playing three games a week or even four when it comes nearer to the end of the season,” he added.

“We have to make sure we don’t fall into that trap.”

Altrincham have won four on the bounce at home this year, with Sinnott delighted that his side are overcoming their inconsistent home form that dogged them before Christmas.

“It’s pleasing since the turn of the year that our home form has kicked on a bit,” he said.

“I mean, that’s what was really holding us back before the turn of the year where our away form was good and we were picking up regular points but our home form was a little stop-start.

“Over the last seven games, and you’re talking two months there because of January and December, our goals against record has improved and that it important.

“It has been pleasing as we were conceding too many earlier in the season but now that has slowed down, it’s important that it stays slowed down.”

Sinnott’s men have no problems at the other end of the pitch either, as his free-scoring side are the division’s second highest scorers, behind runaway leaders Chester.

“On their day I fancy them to score against anybody in this division I really would,” said Sinnott.

Two goals either side of half-time saw off Gloucester City last weekend, but league top-scorer Damian Reeves hobbled off with a dead leg.

Sinnott insisted the injury was not serious, and that the substitution was made to preserve the fitness of his star-striker, who will return against Corby.

“We were in a position where if you’re not going to take Damian off when you’re winning 2-0 you are never going to take him off,” claimed Sinnott.

“I whipped him off straight away and I think that was the right thing to do.”

James Lawrie has been missing for the Robins for several weeks but Sinnott was hoping to have the Northern Irish striker back at training.

“Lawrie has endured a foot problem for about four or five weeks now, but hopefully he’ll be training,” said the Alty boss.

“That will more or less put him on the door of being involved again which will be a welcome return.”

Elsewhere, Darije Kalesic and his Stockport County side are looking to make it three wins on the trot in the Blue Square Bet Premier when they travel to Wrexham.

Hyde, meanwhile, are aiming to end a run of five straight defeats when they host Macclesfield at Ewen Fields.

Stalybridge entertain Worcester City, while Droylsden will be looking for their first win in 15 outings when they face Gainsborough Trinity.

In the Evo-Stik Premier Division, FC United of Manchester host AFC Fylde at Gigg Lane while Ashton United entertain second-placed Hednesford United.

There are some crunch matches in Evo-Stik League Division One (North) this weekend with table-toppers Mossley travelling to Skelmersdale United, who are only two points off the summit.

Trafford are also eyeing top spot as they host New Mills, who themselves are firmly in the play-off picture with games in hand.

Elsewhere, promotion hopefuls Ramsbottom United and Curzon Ashton travel to Garforth Town and Ossett Town respectively.

Salford City play host to Cammell Laird while Radcliffe Borough are at Harrogate Railway Athletic.

Image courtesy of Altrincham FC, via YouTube, with thanks.

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