Heed boss Crosby ready to shuffle his pack
Malcolm Crosby admits he will be looking to shuffle his pack tomorrow as his out-of-form Gateshead side welcome Altrincham to the International Stadium.
A 1-0 reverse at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday night saw the Heed drop to ninth in the Vanarama National League, as their winless run extended to four games.
The Tynesiders toiled throughout at Moss Rose, with Kristian Dennis’ second-half strike the least the Silkmen deserved for a dominant display.
Tomorrow’s visitors have struggled themselves in recent weeks, having found points particularly hard to come by on the road.
The Robins have mustered only four points from a possible 18 on their travels so far, and are the joint-lowest scorers away from home in the division.
The omens are good for Gateshead, having beaten the Greater Manchester outfit on five of their last six meetings.
With the table beginning to take shape, Crosby has urged his troops to be more positive in possession tomorrow.
However, the make-up of his side is likely to be somewhat different to that which began Tuesday’s defeat, as the 61-year-old boss looks for a response from what he labelled an ‘awful’ performance.
He said: “I think the players were disappointed in themselves on Tuesday night.
“As I’ve said all along, I have a good group of lads in terms of work-rate, commitment and attitude, so I do believe they were hurting after that performance.
“We’re not talking big numbers, but I will be making at least a couple of changes on Saturday.
“I could possibly make more, but I have to be careful that we don’t destroy a team that have been very good up until recently.
“We need to be looking to create more chances and openings for our strikers.
“The strikers started off the season very well – we were creating chances for them and they were sticking them away.
“At the moment, that isn’t happening. In Ryan Bowman, Jon Shaw and Danny Johnson we have options, and we have to believe in their ability.
“If they keep getting into the box, then eventually they will start scoring again.”
Gateshead welcomed one of their largest crowds of the season so far to the International Stadium last weekend, and boss Crosby is hopeful that floating fans will not be put off by their current sticky patch.
He added: “We’ve had a couple of bad results of late, but we’ve played sides who are in form, and we haven’t got to forget that.
“It’s been a tough run, and the players have to perform on Saturday and give the fans something to shout about.”
The Heed will again be without Josh Gillies (shoulder) and Matty Pattison (calf).
Crosby is hopeful that Gillies will be fit in time to play some part in next week’s FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round tie at home to Worcester City, while confirming that Pattison is “at least a week away” from a return to first-team action.