Confident Cleethorpes Town ready to tackle Shirebrook
BOSS Andy Liddle believes tactical flexibility will be important as his Cleethorpes Town side prepare for a tough clash at Shirebrook.
The Owls are third in the standings after a six-match unbeaten run in the Northern Counties East League Division One.
Tomorrow, they face a Shirebrook side in good form. The Nottinghamshire club enjoyed a League Cup victory on the road at Knaresborough in midweek.
Liddle's charges were beaten at home by Shirebook, losing 3-2 at Bradley in September.
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The boss said: "Shirebook travel well and have a good away record, so perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that we're at their place tomorrow.
"Their manager (former Sheffield FC boss Mark Shaw) has experience at Evo-Stik level and has been able to bring in some players.
"They have been an up and down side, but are now creeping up the table.
"They are strong and robust, and like to play direct.
"They did a bit of a smash and grab on us earlier in the season.
"But it's six games since we've been beaten in the league, so we are confident.
"Over the last three to four games we are starting to get a good balance in the side as players come back from injury.
"And if we can get to the end of the Christmas period in the top three, we'll be delighted.
"That would give us a good fighting chance of promotion."
Cleethorpes came from behind to draw 1-1 at Teversal last weekend amid what Liddle, pictured right, felt were tricky playing conditions.
"At Teversal the pitch was heavy, with a slope, and we couldn't get our passing game going," the Owls boss said. "We had to change things and get the ball forward quicker.
"Tomorrow's game could be similar if the pitch is difficult underfoot.
"We've had to adapt in this league. We used to be a consistent 4-4-2 side with wingers.
"Now, we sometimes switch things around and go 4-3-3.
"We've managed to get a starting-XI that can play both formations, so that gives us the options to change things without using up substitutes."
Cleethorpes will hope Jack Debnam can continue his high strike rate. The former Louth Town and Grimsby Borough man has scored four goals in as many games.
"Jack has given us a spark in the last few games," added Liddle.
"He's starting to show his quality now – there's a player two or three leagues above us in him."