city primed to fight for top spot

Ben Clayton, seen here playing for Knaresborough.
Ben Clayton, seen here playing for Knaresborough.

Ripon City will jump back on top of the WYA Premier Division if they defeat lowly Field at Mallorie Park on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).

City’s planned league match at Carlton Athletic last weekend was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Now, manager Paul Vincent insist his players are itching to play, in order to put a run of two straight league defeats behind them.

The boss said: “There is a great spirit in this team.

“We know we have had a couple of bad results.

“But everyone is focused and we all know what we have to do to get back to winning ways.

“Hopefully, we can do that this weekend.”

Field sit 12th in the division, having lost 11 of their 17 fixtures.

In October, City beat Field 2-1 away from home.

Ahead of the match, the manager said: “You always know when a team will come to your place and have a real go.

“Field are one of those teams.

“They have a lot to play for in their position in the league.

“We need to get off to a strong start, and find that early goal.

“My main concern is to keep the momentum going.

“We don’t want to tail off.”

The boss is stopping short of demanding his side storm their way back to the league summit.

First-placed Bardsey are locked on 36 points with City, but have played four games less.

Third -placed Leeds City have 32 points, having played five matches less.

Vincent said: “I don’t want to put too much pressure on anyone.

“I’m not paying too much attention to the league position.

“It just distracts the lads.”

He added: “With the games in hand the other teams have on us, we know we have to concentrate on winning every match.”

“We are up there with the best teams in the league on merit.

“Training is going well, everyone is committed to turning these results around and picking up points again.”

The frozen pitch at Carlton joined the other Premier Division venues in failing to beat the freeze on Saturday.

City have played more league games than any other team in the division, but the manager knows every team faces a backlog.

He said: “Every team is struggling to get games on at the moment.

“We will all have to deal with a backlog, but it is about how you deal with it when it comes.

“We have cup matches to play as well, it is important to get the league matches on as soon as possible.

“Not having the game on Saturday was a bit of a shame, but it does take a lot to get a game on in these conditions.”

It is hoped a break in the weather could allow this weekend’s match to go ahead.

The manager said: “It depends on what the weather does for the rest of the week.

“With the temperature maybe set to rise, the snow could possibly protect the pitch,

“It will still be wet underneath, but hopefully we can drain most of the water.

“We have got as good a chance as anyone else to get a game on.”

City managed to train last week on AstroTurf, but the manager knows there is no substitute for getting a gme on during the winter months.

He said: “It’s great that we are getting training sessions in while the weather is so bad.

“However, the AstroTurf is far from ideal.

“We weren’t able to do any training at the ground at the weekend.”

City confirmed the signing of Ben Clayton from Knaresborough Town this week.

On the signing, Vincent said: “He is a massive addition to the squad.

“James Charlesworth will miss the match, but otherwise we have a fully fit squad.”