20 Jul 2020 in First Team
By Brian Bennett
Adam McHugh reckons there’s no reason why Ashington FC cannot push on when the new campaign gets under way. McHugh was delighted to pen a one year contract with the club last week and is looking ahead with optimism.
The 28 year old ‘keeper had to bide his time on the substitute’s bench from the start of last season as Dan Staples turned in a series of distinguished displays between the posts. But when travelling commitments led to Staples moving on - he joined fellow Ebac Northern League side Penrith – McHugh grabbed his chance with both hands and was a colossal figure for the Colliers in a season which was cut short and later declared null and void because of the Coronavirus.
Now the Bishop Auckland-born stopper believes the experience which the squad gained from last year should stand them in good stead: “We had just started to gel as a team when things came to a halt,” said McHugh, “We defeated Bishop Auckland and drew with North Shields and had strung a few good results together - and on top of that we were keeping clean sheets. However the experience gained by a lot of our young lads as they moved into men’s football was invaluable and has got to be of benefit to them as we look to move forward.”
The Spennymoor-based custodian added: “Hopefully we will not just be looking to settle for a mid table spot next term. We have already started to contend with established Northern League sides and have picked up results against them and I see no reason why we cannot continue to push on. We have got a good balance with older heads coming into the squad alongside the younger lads who will be willing to listen which can only help the team. Also we struggled at defending set plays last season so with the manager bringing in a few experienced heads we should be stronger in that department.”
McHugh was sincere when he spoke of his admiration for the club: “The manager has kept the majority of the lads together as well as bringing in some good players,” he said, “I didn’t hesitate in signing because Ashington are definitely one of friendliest clubs I’ve been associated with during my career. I know results weren’t the best last term but it was nevertheless one of the most enjoyable seasons I have had in football.”
Manager Ian Skinner said: “Adam joined us last season and after waiting for his chance and securing the number one jersey, played a prominent role. I’m delighted he has committed to the club for a year. His level of consistency last season was exceptional and that was evident in him being named in the top three for ‘Player of the Year.’ Adam is a great character both on and off the field who has great experience having represented Blyth Spartans and Whitby Town. His presence on the field gives defenders reassurance and confidence and I’m looking forward to more of the same from Adam next season.”