Press and Media Officer John Edwards has submitted the following article for inclusion in this week's Sale and Altrincham Messenger.
Phil Parkinson has revealed how the axe was hovering over some Altrincham players ahead of a battling 3-2 win at promotion-chasing Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday.
The Alty boss admitted his patience was wearing thin after two successive defeats but saluted the response to a stark ultimatum against one of the form teams in the Vanarama National League North.
‘That was huge for us, and I am an extremely proud and happy manager,’ he said. ‘I threw the gauntlet down to the players all week in training, telling them that after two defeats and a draw, this was a must-win game.
‘Fresh faces would have come in if we hadn’t won, because I can’t be seen to be resting on my laurels and doing nothing about it. But the desire, endeavour and character they showed against a side who will be play-off contenders sent a strong message back to me that they like the group they’ve got and don’t want to see changes in the dressing room.
‘That was the most pressure we’ve had to withstand all season, and it is a massive achievement to come away with all three points. It was a great reaction from all the players, particularly Elliot Wynne, who was outstanding and made some saves in the first half that kept us in the game.
‘I’ll admit we had a bit of luck, but it’s about time. The togetherness of the group when Bradford were putting it on us is what we need every single game. At one point, Sean Williams couldn’t get a tackle in with his foot, so chucked his head in the way of the ball. You have to show that grit and earn the right to play.’
Alty switch their sights to the FA Cup on Saturday, with Northern League Whitley Bay making the trip to The J.Davidson Stadium for a second qualifying round tie.
‘The players know what is at stake and want to do well in the Cup, as do I,’ said Parkinson. ‘Whitley Bay beat Whitby in the last round, so we won’t be taking them lightly.’