Athletic boosted by three-game unbeaten run

Date published: 16 February 2018

Athletic might be without a game now for eight days, but the players – particularly the defenders – will have a distinct spring in their step in the build-up to the home fixture against Southend tomorrow week.

Tuesday’s precious 1-0 win against drop rivals MK Dons saw Athletic secure their first clean sheet in the league since November.

That was a timely boost for boss Richie Wellens.

He said: “It’s always pleasing. Obviously if you don’t concede you’re not going to lose the game.

“It just gives Cameron (Dummigan), Kean (Bryan) and the rest of the defence a huge lift in confidence.

“Energy levels have been really good.

“Anthony (Gerrard) and Kean have been playing well lately, and while we did secure a first clean sheet in a while, the goal we conceded against Bradford was nothing to do with those two.

“The free-kick at Blackburn we couldn’t do anything about. They’re just looking like a good partnership, and they do complement each other.

“Anthony leads by example.

“We’ve spoken about this before. People who have been in this situation before, tend to stand up and be counted, and he certainly did that.”

Wellens hopes the enforced break will mean some medium-term injury victims will recover significantly. Those could include Eoin Doyle and Patrick McEleney.

“We’ll have maybe two or three injured lads back by next week, that’s a big plus as the squad will look a lot stronger,” added Wellens.

“We were on a high after the MK Dons game and you do want the next game to come on the Saturday.

“Unfortunately that’s not to be, so we need to utilise this rest now.

“The players will have a few days off over the weekend, then we’ll be back in on Monday.”

Meanwhile, three of Athletic's youth team players have gone out on loan.

Defender Festus Arthur and forward Ned Dry have joined Ossett Albion on loan for one-month, while Francois Antoine has joined Colne FC.

All three are available to play for their loan clubs this weekend.