2:22pm Saturday 10th May 2014
By Andrew Simpson
BRIAN Pritchard has voiced his frustration at Witton’s on-pitch struggles this season but predicted, with the right additions, Albion can avoid a repeat next term.
His side, promotion play-offs semi-finalists a year ago, has spent the whole of the current campaign in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s lower reaches.
But they avoided relegation after a sequence of seven wins in a dozen Premier Division matches between the end of February and the start of April.
Witton’s manager, after talking to each player in his squad this week, has promised changes.
He said: “Since the last ball was kicked, I’ve had a phone glued to my ear.
“I made a decision to move on a couple of players some time ago, but with the position we were in it wasn’t possible to do so straight away.
“It worked the other way too; lads who I wanted to bring in were looking at the table and were reluctant to join us.
“The next few weeks will be crucial, though I disagree with those who think we need a revolution. That’s not how I tackle things.
“I haven’t got a blank piece of paper in front of me with the intention of starting again because of how the season has panned out.
“There is a nucleus here that needs adding to; that’s the challenge.”
He is waiting for a reply to offers made to central defender Ben Harrison and striker Alex Titchiner, each important parts of a core he wants to count on next season.
Josh Hancock has left though, joining newly-promoted Skrill North champions AFC Telford United on Thursday.
Player of the year Danny Andrews has promised to stay while Pritchard told the club’s official podcast that he expected defensive duo Anthony Gardner and Rob Bodie to agree terms for another season.
He said: “We have targets in mind, and I want us to do our business as quickly as we can so we know what we’ve got to work with heading into pre-season.
“Our style will stay the same, so it’s a case of signing lads who suit how we like to play.
“In some ways a natural cycle has come to an end, and that probably explains why I plan to release certain individuals.
“It’s obvious we must improve defensively, though that’s not just me pointing a finger at the back five and nobody else.
“We got to 60 points, which was 11 clear of the relegation zone.
“That didn’t look likely when we lost badly at Stamford [in February], so it’s something to be positive about that we managed to secure our position with a couple of matches to spare.”
In which positions do you think Witton's squad will need to be stronger next season?
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