THE WITTON COLUMN – by Paul Harper

OVER the course of lockdown, I have been trying to keep up with the playing squad for some content for the club’s digital channels.

I did a really great interview with Witton captain Josh Wardle where we went in depth on a number of topics, which you can read on the club’s official website.

It was a fairly lengthy chat, so I saved half of it to use as part of this column. So here goes…

Albion have been playing a back three this season, after playing with a flat back four for much of the previous couple of seasons on a regular basis.

Experience came into the squad at the back in the frame of Steve McNulty and Wardle explained how he feels the defensive system is working and what it’s like playing alongside someone who has been there and done it on numerous occasions.

“I think we work really well in a back three,” he said.

“I’ve never really played with someone of Macca’s experience and it shows why he’s played at such a high level with how he guides us all through the game.

“It’s good to have Nick Ryan back playing after his horrific injury and I think we’ve probably got a shout for being one of the best defences in the league.

“Playing in a three gives you some extra cover and lets you have a bit more freedom to come out with the ball, so I love it.”

Lockdown 2.0 came at a bad time for Albion, who were flying with four wins in a row before the Government’s announcement and the Northern Premier League season coming to a temporary halt.

The 23-year-old defender says that the team have been maintaining their fitness by themselves whilst they’ve been unable to train together.

He added: “I think most of the lads will have kept themselves fit over this period, so hopefully we hit the ground running again once we return.

“Going into the Christmas period is always tough with the fixtures that we have around that time, so we need to pick up as many points as possible before then.”

“Over the lockdown, I’ve got a little bit of a gym setup in my garage and have been for a few runs to try keep myself fit.

“Obviously, I never really had a pre-season with the injury so I’ve been playing catch up really.

“We have a little WhatsApp group where the lads stay in touch, so that’s helped us together to a degree during this time.

“We’ve got a good bunch of lads at Witton and that’s always been the case since I’ve been here.”