Interview | Armstrong Calls for Bumper Crowd Ahead of FC United Fixture

Alun Armstrong wants a packed Croft Park on Saturday afternoon

“We need the people of Blyth to pack this place on Saturday,” Alun Armstrong decreed as he spoke to Blyth Spartans Official Website on a cold winter evening at Croft Park ahead of a busy run of action.

Spartans return to league action against FC United of Manchester on Saturday afternoon off the back of a disappointing exit to Vanarama National League side Bromley in the Last 32 of the FA Trophy. Armstrong hopes his side can get back to the form they showed in an emphatic 4-0 win against Gainsborough Trinity a fortnight ago – when braces from Greg Rutherford and Sean Reid gave Spartans all three points.

“Obviously we on the back of a poor defeat in the FA Trophy, but the week before that we put in a really good performance against Gainsborough, the lads were fantastic. We are looking to get back to that type of performance on Saturday.”

And the former Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town striker had a message for the Spartans faithful – to make Croft Park a fortress this weekend.

“We need this place bouncing, we need our supporters to turn up in big numbers this weekend as I guarantee they will bring a good following.

“When we get big crowds at Croft Park the place feels different, there is a different atmosphere when we get 1,000+ fans through the gate, the lads love it.”

“When the crowds drop, you can hear the difference. You can hear everyone talking and it’s not so good, big crowds make a huge impact.”

Saturday’s opponents sit 13th in the National League North table, 10 points behind 6th placed Spartans, but sit 7th in the form guide.

“It’s going to be a really tough game,” stated the Spartans boss.

“FC United of Manchester are in really great form at the moment, they’ve recently appointed a new manager and have improved a lot as of late.”

Tom Greaves – the player manager for Saturday’s visitors – has an incredible record as a player with the Red Rebels, making 248 appearances and netting 102 times in six seasons after joining from Bradford Park Avenue in 2012/13. And since his appointment as manager, the team’s form has improved dramatically, undefeated in six league games including wins against Harrogate Town and Salford City, plus draws against Salford, Brackley Town and Spennymoor Town.

And Armstrong is aware of the quality Saturday’s opposition possess.

“They were a good side when we played them earlier in the season, and it was clear to me they were in a false position in the early stages of this campaign. Now they are in great form it’s going to be a very tough challenge for us.”

Robbie Dale is available after missing Saturdays FA Trophy tie against Bromley

And it’s one the 42-year-old is relishing, with a number of key players back in contention for Saturday’s game:

“Robbie (Dale) will be back, he had a thing booked prior to the season. The funny thing is had we played Tamworth away last Saturday – which was the original fixture – he’d have been available for selection, he’ll be back in.

“Still waiting on Nipa (Dan Maguire), we’ve had a scan done and we can’t find a major problem with his injury, so hopefully he’ll be able to feature, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Sean Reid could also feature after missing Saturday’s FA Trophy defeat to Bromley, but there is a doubt over right-back Andrew Cartwright.

“Carty has a tweak in his groin so it’s unlikely he’ll be available for the game, and obviously there is a couple of players out long term, both Jordan Watson and Lewis Horner will be unavailable.

“But apart from that, the rest of the squad should be fit for the weekend.”

Tickets for Saturday’s National League North fixtures are priced £12 Adults and £6 Concessions, with U10’s who are accompanied by an adult allowed FREE Entry.

There is a £2 addition for those non-season ticket holders who would like a seat in the Port of Blyth Stand.

Posted by BSAFC Media Team