SPORTSLINC

Whites’ boss says: “Crowds make a big difference to players”

Lincoln United manager, Sam Wilkinson has told his players that they have a responsibility to perform with style if they want to play in front of big crowds at Ashby Avenue.

Attendances this season at the Sun Hat Villas have been slightly down on last year so big efforts are being made to attract more supporters.

However the Whites have experienced a poor run of form of late and the Ashby Avenue faithful are being asked to continue to stick by their team.

Boss Wilkinson said: “Obviously a good crowd makes a big difference to us when we play at Ashby Avenue.

We have always had loyal supporters but it would be nice to get an extra 30 or 40 fans.

It would make such a difference to the lads especially as the Sun Hat Villas is a very tight ground and fans can get near the pitch.

The biggest crowd I played in front of at Ashby Avenue was against Kidderminster in an FA Trophy replay when I was 18.

I was a substitute and had to come on at right back which was not my position.

I can remember being very nervous but I did enjoy the game.

There were 380 fans there that night and because the ground is so tight it felt like there were a lot more cheering us on.

I also remember playing at Telford when the crowd was so noisy and the atmosphere was so great you could hardly make out what your team mates were saying on the pitch.

I have told the players they have a responsibility of working hard on and off the pitch for the club and their performances must match this effort.

Obviously the last home result doesn’t help but we are working hard to try and get things right.

I am still confident we can put a run together and start climbing the table.

We were in a similar situation this time last year.

There are lots of points to play for and there is still a long way to go.”

Whites’ skipper, Phil Watt added: “A good home crowd can be a great motivator and give the team that extra lift when sometimes things are against you.

It can also help get that bit more out of our performance whether we are pushing for a win or defending to keep hold of a win.

It’s like the old cliché: ‘They can be the 12th man’.”

United chairman, Rob Bradley. also knows the importance of attracting more supporters both for the sake of the players and the income generated for the club.

He has introduced several new initiatives aimed at enticing more people through the turnstiles, especially under-16s.

He said: “Four hundred season tickets have been given to the youngsters at Hartsholme Academy which allows them to watch our home games free with up to two accompanying adults paying only half price.

In addition, any youngsters involved in the Mid-Lincs Youth teams can have a mini-game at half-time and not have to pay an entrance fee. Accompanying adults only pay a pound.

Another incentive this Saturday is for Lincoln City supporters who can’t make it to Crewe and any Whites’ fans who can claim a £2 voucher towards food and drink from our catering outlet.

Finally, any Lincoln United FC youth player will qualify for a free season ticket with accompanying parents paying half price.”

Last Saturday the Whites lost 3-2 at high-flying Alvechurch in a game where

they clawed their way back to 2-2 after conceding two goals in the first 10 minutes.

It took a strike two minutes’ from time to net the home side all three points.

This Saturday United entertain Market Drayton Town, kick off 3pm.

Peter Hayward

sportslinc@hotmail.com

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