10:00am Thursday 25th July 2013
Exclusive By Andrew Simpson
THE future of Mathew Wood as a Witton player is unclear, with manager Brian Pritchard saying the full back’s absence from Albion’s side so far is not proof his spell with the club is over.
He has though trained only with Premier Division rivals Rushall Olympic, appearing in the Pics’ friendly 2-1 success against an experimental Walsall side last week.
“Nobody knows what’s happening with him,” said Pritchard.
“What I can say is that Mat Wood has not told us he has left the club, nor have we closed the door on him.
“We’ve made him the best offer we can, which might not be the best deal he can get.
“I know he feels frustrated that his form in the past couple of seasons hasn’t led to a move to a higher level, despite twice being named in the league’s team of the season.
“With that in mind, he told us he preferred to start pre-season with another club.”
Midlands-based Wood, 24, has made more than 150 appearances in Witton’s colours since arriving at Wincham Park in the summer of 2010.
He was a key player in Albion’s play-offs success that led to the club returning to the Northern Premier League’s top flight the season before last, going on to feature in all but three league matches last term.
Pritchard added: “Mat has given me his reasons why he’s done what he has, with the amount of travelling he does at the top of the list.
“In the meantime, I’ll continue to make plans for Witton Albion, and I’ve been pleased with the individuals who have played in that position in the friendlies so far.”
He refers to Josh Glover, who filled in at left back when Wood was absent last term, and trialists Ben Richardson – formerly of Mossley – and ex-Hyde man Ryan Hibbert.
They, along with wide men Matthew Purcell and Stuart Wellstead plus striker Neville Thompson, are likely to have another chance to impress against visitors Macclesfield Town tonight, Thursday.
New recruit Nicky Platt, back from Russia where he helped Great Britain’s men’s football team to a silver medal at the World University Games, will feature for the first time against the Silkmen too.
Witton scored their first goals of the summer in a 3-1 success at Kidsgrove Athletic on Tuesday, where Kyle Wilson – twice – and Wellstead were on target.
Pritchard added: “It was a much better performance than last week [in defeats against Barnton and Blackpool].
“There was a natural step up in terms of how we coped physically, which is a result of the fitness work the players have done in the past fortnight. Kyle took his goals well, so there was plenty to be positive about.”
Macclesfield, from the Football Conference’s national division, lost 3-0 at home to Rochdale while Witton were at Kidsgrove.
That followed a 4-1 reverse at Oldham on Saturday.
Kick off tonight is 7.30pm, with admission set at £6 for adults. Concessions pay £4, and under 15s watch for free.
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