LEE Sinnott saluted his special reserves after seeing Altrincham launch a crucial month of Blue Square Bet North fixtures with a morale-boosting 3-2 win at Boston United.
Boosted by his first goal in Altrincham colours, in the previous game against Hinckley United, fringe striker Ryan Brooke continued to look a capable deputy for the injured James Lawrie, with a prominent role in a deserved win that lifted Sinnott’s side to within four points of the play-off places.
Lawrie is expected to be fit for Saturday’s home game with Gainsborough Trinity, but Sinnott admitted he faces a selection dilemma as he paid tribute to the patience and perseverance of Brooke and fellow-striker Danny Mitchley.
"It has been difficult for both lads, because the complexion of our strike force suddenly changed when Damian Reeves came back to us just a couple of weeks before the season started," said the Alty manager.
"It wasn’t rocket science that he was going to play, and when James slotted into a more central role, that gave us a further dimension up front.
"Unfortunately for Ryan and Danny, it meant fewer opportunities for them, and they have been left kicking their heels a bit. No-one can really quibble with our goalscoring record, but it has been difficult and frustrating for those two lads.
‘But they have both been patient and shown a great attitude, and I thought Ryan was excellent at Boston. You have to remember he is still only a young lad of 21 who has just come out of the professional game, but his work-rate and desire has been first class. He may not have scored at Boston, but he was instrumental in us securing all three points. He has put pressure on that position in attack, and that’s what you want."
Sinnott urged his side to make home advantage count, after just nine points out of 21 at Moss Lane this season, compared to a remarkable record of eight wins and three draws from 14 League and Cup games on their travels.
"We are facing a really congested month, and it is going to be a big ask for the squad," he said.
"But we know the importance of it, because when games are coming thick and fast, league positions can change rapidly. It’s a psychological test for the players, after so many away games, but I mean that in a positive manner, because it really is a great opportunity.
"It’s the flip side from last season, when you consider we have won three and lost four at home, but when you have got a young squad who are maturing and developing, there will be faults that need ironing out. One is getting our home form back on track. That is paramount."
Lawrie and Carl Rodgers are hopeful of being fit, but Danny Hall serves a one-match ban.