Send us news, start your message Cheshire News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Witton Albion's top scorer is back in training, but manager's mind is on beating Barwell on Saturday
BRIAN Pritchard has Shaun Tuck available again after his release from prison earlier this week.
The front man trained with his Witton teammates for the first time last night, Thursday and – in the absence so far of any sanction from the Football Association for remarks he made on a social networking website in May – could be selected by the manager.
For now, the club has told the Guardian it has no comment to make until the game’s governing body decides whether it wishes to intervene.
The 27-year-old, who served half of a three-months sentence after pleading guilty to an offence under the Communications Act 2003, met Pritchard and chairman Mark Harris at home on Wednesday.
“I asked him questions that I wanted answers to,” said the Albion boss.
“He gave to me reassurances that certain things written about him are incorrect.
“All I can say in addition to that is I have a player in my squad who is available again to play football. That doesn’t mean that he will, of course.
“Remember he’s not taken part in pre-season training, and has missed already the first two games of the season.”
The Guardian has asked the FA for an update on its position, but has yet to receive a reply.
Tuck scored 25 goals in all competitions for Witton in his debut season after switching from Skelmersdale United last summer.
His teammates have made a slow start to the current campaign, losing back-to-back matches against Buxton and then Marine.
They host league newcomers Barwell on Saturday seeking a first point.
Pritchard said: “We’re playing catch-up already.
“The first couple of games have served as a reality check, and it’s no secret we’ve had a poor week. We’ve got to turn it around quickly, starting tomorrow.
“That doesn’t mean we’re panicking, because we’re not.
“However the players’ concentration needs to be better as mentally we’ve not been strong enough in the first two games.
“I’ve been extremely loyal to this group over the past two years, but now they need to show to me and also the supporters that they haven’t got fat on success, that they’re still hungry to perform.”
He had hoped to complete a loan deal for a defender from a higher-ranked club, but that will now not happen.
However there could still be a new signing in the squad – a full back – in time to face Barwell.
Striker Neville Thompson (Achilles) may have to wait a little longer to make his debut as he continues to convalesce since suffering an injury during pre-season.
Pritchard said: “It’s been disappointing for everybody that Nev hasn’t been available, particularly as he was one of our best players in pre-season.
“There have been others missing too – I’m conscious of that – and it’s probably true they could have made a difference on the pitch in the games we’ve lost.
“However their absence isn’t the reason we’ve lost those matches.”
Midfielder Michael Powell continues to serve a suspension this weekend, while Anthony Sheehan and Ryan Grocott are unavailable.