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Pickering Town eye sixth place - and new players
Updated 12:44pm Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in Sport
MANAGER Mitch Cook is keen for his Pickering Town outfit to end the season on a good note - after which focus will turn to bolstering the squad.
The Pikes chief has already made enquiries about new players over the summer, saying it "doesn't take a genius" to know where he needs to strengthen, but he first wants his current crop to end their Northern Counties East League premier division campaign by completing a pleasing six-match unbeaten since the 5-0 drubbing at Tadcaster.
The Pikes drew 1-1 at Thackley on Saturday to increase that run to five games, and they finish at lowly Nostell Miners Welfare this Saturday (3pm), with sixth place in the table the potential prize.
"We can either finish sixth or 10th so the result is important - I want to finish sixth, not 10th," said Cook.
"Nostell might be near the bottom but they beat Thackley last week and got themselves out of relegation danger."
He added: "You hope the players think, 'I want to be here next season, and be a part of it and do something,' and we do want to take good form from the end of this season into next.
"But then the turnover of players is always different at the end of a season and you don't know who will leave or come in."
When asked if he had irons in the fire regarding new recruits, Cook said: "I've enquired about a couple, but after a few years in this league I've learned that people can say one thing but you don't know if you've signed them until they sign on the dotted line so I'm not going overboard about it."
As for areas he wants to strengthen, he replied: "We've scored 120 goals but let in 70-odd. You don't need to be a genius to work it out. At one end we're doing well but the other end is letting us down. You look at the team as well, though, as you can't blame goals conceded only on your goalkeeper and defenders.
"We're looking to strengthen throughout. If a striker turns up who's going to get you 50 goals, you will take him. If a top-quality keeper turns up who wull save you lots of points, you will take him.
"We've identified a few players but we're not getting carried away yet."
Meanwhile, Cook was non-plussed by the performance against mid-table Thackley.
"We have responded well after the Tadcaster game," he said. "The target was to win the last six and we've so far won five and drawn one with one to go.
"But Saturday's game had a real end-of-season feel to it, with nothing to play for. It wasn't good enough really - you want to win and you want to do things right and play with a lot of enthusiasm - but it's understandable. Everybody - both teams, the spectators - knows there's nothing counting on it. It's no excuse, though."
Thackley, who lost skipper Matt Morgan to injury midway through the game, took the lead after 67 minutes as Matthew Mathers received the ball from Luke Hodgson, controlled it superbly and tucked it into the bottom corner.
The Pikes, for who Nathan Cook and Tony Hackworth had gone close, bagged a deserved equaliser eight minites later as Sam Calvert fed substitute Ryan Woodhead, who scored a fine goal.
Robbie Hawkes nearly won the match late on but home keeper Ben Higginson made a super save.
Pickering: Woodhead, Hawkes, Andrew (Henderson 73), Patterson, Hackworth, Cook, Calvert (Danby 88), Taylor, Dalton (Woodhead R 73), Tilsley, Greening. Sub not used: Myers. Attendance: 128.
The league has been won by Brighouse Town whose 2-0 victory over Retford United on Saturday means second-placed Tadcaster Albion ca no longer catch them now. Brighouse will be promoted to the Evo-Stik League.
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