Liam Watson admits Southport need to up their game against Grimsby Town on Friday night, despite seeing his side….
…record a comfortable 2-0 win over Darlington in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Tuesday night.
Goals from Shaun Whalley and Karl Ledsham gave the Sandgrounders a second successive league victory and lifts them back into the play-off places.
Watson’s men sit fourth, and can consolidate that position with a win over Rob Scott’s in-form Mariners, who are unbeaten in the league since October, and have won nine of their last ten games in all competitions, lifting them to the brink of the play-off positions as a result.
But despite what was a routine win for his side at Haig Avenue against struggling Darlington, Watson insists he is looking for a major improvement on Friday, in a fixture which will be televised live on the Premier Sports satellite channel.
He said: “It was nice to get another clean sheet, but if I’m being honest I don’t think we played well.
“In the first-half we never looked after the ball, and never closed them down anywhere near as quick as we should have been doing, and we were extremely wasteful. I honestly don’t think we worked hard enough, and it seemed as though we just expected to win.
“Both sides looked as though they hadn’t played football for a while, but we will need to really up our performance on Friday if we are going to get anything from a rampant Grimsby side.
“If we play like that on Friday, I told the lads we will get battered! We have put ourselves in a fantastic positon – we are not fourth in the table by fluke – but we have to keep our standards high, and we need to work harder than we did here, especially in the first half.”
Watson admits his side will need to be on their guard against free-scoring Grimsby, but says he backs his side to overcome their notable attacking threat.
“Conference leading scorer Liam Hearn is a player who is really strong, quick and powerful,” he said. “Anthony Elding on his day is as good as anyone in the Conference and you’ve got Rob Duffy who is a big powerful unit, and scored a good header for Grimsby against us here last season – I think on his debut.
“So we know what they have got, but we are not overly-concerned with what they’ve got, because we know we just have to look at ourselves, and up our performance levels.
I’ve drummed it into the players that we need to up our game on Friday. Basically, we need to look after the ball better and work harder. And if that sounds simple, it’s because it is. Football is basic, and we need to do the basics better than we did on Tuesday.
“The fact that the game is on a Friday won’t affect us. It will give us a chance to open up a gap in fourth place, and put a bit of pressure on the teams below us, but that is all.
“Our aim is to get to sixty points as quickly as possible, and then we are in a position where, with lots of winnable games coming up, we need nine points in March and nine in April to guarantee a play-off place.”
Watson confirmed that both Chris Lever and Alan Moogan will be part of his sixteen-man squad for Friday’s clash.
Lever has been absent through injury since the New Year, while Moogan served the last of a four-game suspension on Tuesday evening, and should return to the starting line-up on Friday.