Interview by Alty Insider John Edwards
Phil Parkinson gave his thoughts on Altrincham’s latest pre-season friendly, and provided an update on Ryan Colclough, in an interview with press officer John Edwards, after Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Trafford at Shawe View.
Q: What are the main positives you take from the game, Phil?
A: It was an improvement from the weekend. I said to you a couple of weeks ago it’s not going to be a case of us being instantly fantastic, just because we are full-time. We’ve got a load of new players in who need to gel as a unit, so it is step by step, and it was good to see an improvement on last time out. We are missing probably the majority of our attacking threat because we are looking after them to make sure they are right for the start of the season, so it is encouraging that the lads who have come in are holding their own and staking a claim, and they will only get better with the more game time they get. They have got to make the most of these opportunities, but, for me, the biggest thing overall is to see game-on-game improvement. We have come here in the past and not dominated games like we did tonight. They always give us a difficult game, every season, so it was good to see how dominant we were. A bit more attacking intent at times, and it could have been a bigger scoreline in our favour.
Q: A cutting edge was the one thing missing in an otherwise impressive first-half performance, wasn’t it?
A: It’s the most difficult thing to get right, to be fair. When you are without Ryan Colclough, Matty Kosylo, Jordan Hulme and Brad Jackson, it doesn’t help. That’s almost your entire front line, but I have to say I feel Marcus Dinanga is a real bright spark for us at the moment. He has come back in, and he is looking really hungry and really lively. He is going to push Jordan this year, I can see it. As I said, we are missing pretty much the front line, and you can see that’s the bit that’s not quite right at the moment. But we are second game in (counting Saturday's double-header as one), and as long as we are right on August 6th, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Q: It’s interesting you mention Marcus Dinanga. He was allowed to join Dartford on loan last season, but it sounds like you feel he could have a role to play for Alty in the months ahead?
A: Marcus went away last season to score a load of goals and get his mojo back, and that’s exactly what he did. He is proven in the Conference North and South and is more than good enough to play at this level. He has just got to go and score the goals now, if he gets the opportunity. He has to fight it out with Jordan, and, of course, Jordan is the captain and is going to be the starting striker. But if he is not doing it, Marcus is a ready-made replacement to come in and do a job for us. We have tried to ensure we have competition in every position. We are not going to be a massive squad, probably around 18, which will be thin for us. But we will get stronger season-on-season. There will probably be a few injuries, and we have had one or two niggles already this pre-season, but if we can get through it with the majority of key players fit and ready, I’m quietly confident we can have a really good season.
Q: Both the full-backs who started, Ross Barrows and Liam Brockbank, looked really good - you must be pleased with how the new signings are shaping up?
A: Yeah, definitely. And when you add Aidy Roxburgh, who played in the second half, those are the three full-backs, and they are going to get even better with games. Aidy looks a real prospect, Liam is young and hungry and we all know the qualities and experience Ross brings. They are all slotting in really well.
Q: We have yet to see Ryan Colclough in any of the games, Phil, and he injured his hamstring in the final match of last season. What is the situation with him?
A: As you say, he picked up a knock at the back end of the season, and he was nowhere near fit when he came back in for the start of pre-season. But the thing about full–time is that he is in every day, and, physically, he now looks in the best condition I have seen him in. We have been careful with him, but I’m really interested now to see how he does when he is fully match fit, with games under his belt. He will be blowing in the first couple, no doubt, but he makes us a different animal when he plays. He is that jewel in our crown. We can’t just be relying on Ryan. There have got to be others who can take the mantle, but when you’ve got someone like him, you will miss him when he’s not playing, because he gives us a different dimension. With Jordan, we were a bit worried at first, because he came back and was fine but then started feeling his ankle a bit. Thankfully, he seems to be over that now and we will see more of him as well in the next few weeks.