NPL Division One East
Dave Frecklington identifies his side’s defensive displays as the key reason behind Frickley Athletic’s best start to a league campaign since 1991.
Frickley are fourth after four wins in five NPL matches ahead of the Friday night hum-dinger against second-placed Ossett United at Westfield Lane.
Frecklington is proud of his players for their efforts so far but he remains grounded.
“We have belief in our camp that if we get our principles right and stick to our structure we know we are going to be a really hard team to play against,” Frecklington told Non League Yorkshire.
“We probably limit teams to a lot of efforts from outside the box.
“We have not conceded from open play in five games.
“We have conceded three goals in five games – two were penalties and one was a header from a corner.
“To not concede from open play in five games is an unbelievable stat.
“It is a big reason for the good start and it is not just the defenders because we defend as a unit.
“A lot of my teams have scored a lot of goals and also conceded goals but I think it is important with a new group that you build from the back and make sure you are solid and hard to beat.
“If you’re not conceding goals you’re going to get points – it is simple as that whether it is three or one.
“It is important you have that solid foundation and it breeds confidence and belief into the group.
“We’ll always get chances and we have worked really hard on set-pieces in pre-season and we have managed to score from them.
“Everything has clicked into place quite early but again it is only a start and no-one is getting carried away, that’s for sure.”
Frecklington has masterminded wins over North East giants Hebburn Town, Brighouse Town, Tadcaster Albion and Worksop Town and the Frickley boss agrees that many may be taken aback by their form.
“I think it is probably right and it is a fair assessment that we have surprised a lot of people with the start we have had,” he said.
“We have got some good individual players and it was about making sure we got them buying into the principles of how we go about our business.
“We are a new group.
“We only have three players from last year and when you have new group it is a case of if you can get wins early then that will only get belief into the camp and makes them believe even more what you’re trying to achieve.
“With everything thrown into the mix, to get four wins from five is a massive credit to the players because they are the ones who carry out the game-plans, show the work ethic and are getting the wins.
“Long may it continue.”
Frickley’s pre-season was difficult at the beginning and Frecklington made some late changes – both tactically and on the personnel front close to the opening day.
Clearly those decisions have paid dividends.
“Our pre-season was a mixed bag but I think we won four out of the five last pre-season games,” he said.
“The start of pre-season didn’t go well in terms of results and we had to change the way we were going about things because it didn’t suit the group.
“We then based things on trying to be hard to beat and if we had that base, with the quality we have going forward then we could score goals.
“It was about getting the balance right against the ball than it was with the ball.
“The boys have taken that on board and that has resulted in the start we have had.”
Alongside a good win and performance, Frecklington hopes for a big turnout on Friday night.
“I would like to think so with it being a local derby and Ossett being well-supported,” he added.
“We have been getting 250 at home and although it is early doors it is a top of the table clash.
“It is an exciting game and we’re looking forward to it.
“It will be a really tough game but we go into it full of confidence.”
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