THE effort between matches this week worked a treat for Warrington Rylands who can go into a double-header bank holiday weekend feeling more pleased about themselves.

Manager Michael Clegg was highly critical of what his players produced in a 1-1 draw away to Atherton Collieries on Saturday, but they were much improved in a 2-0 midweek success against another of his former clubs Ashton United at Gorsey Lane.

Other than a superb Luke Pilling double save in the first half, Rylands were in the ascendancy before Ashton’s Alex Byrne was sent off in the 43rd minute for a second bookable offence but the Blues dominated the second half and goals from Ben Hardcastle (78) and Scott Bakkor (90) sealed the win.

“I just thought we were good, thought we were patient, I thought we probed, I thought we should have gone 1-0 up off Joe Piggott’s attempt, but it felt like it was always coming and we got what we deserved,” said Clegg.

Despite being left ‘fuming’ by the weekend’s performance, he said he does have faith in his new-look squad.

“I don’t think we’ve been great to this point but we’re a new team and we’re not going to throw the towel in,” he said.

“We’re not going to get a massive influx of new players, we really believe in this group.

“Was Saturday good enough? No. But there weren’t massive changes (for Ashton).

“We analysed the game, we fed it back to the lads, we made sure they watched it, we made sure we went through it before the game, and we tweaked the things that we thought needed tweaking again, so we’ve got a great group in there.

“I think what I’ve been conscious of in the past, over the past couple of years, is scrapping plans a bit too early and using too many players, and I am happy with this group.

“You are always looking to improve because non-league is a mad kind of game because you get offered so many good players but I think this has shown again our togetherness.

“The subs made a huge impact, that’s what they’re there to do, and it’s a real squad game and they’re all going to get minutes on Saturday-Monday.”

Morpeth Town visit Gorsey Lane on Saturday and then Rylands head to Macclesfield on Monday, both games kicking off at 3pm.

Clegg, steeling his players for what is about to come, said: “I’ve never once had an easy game against Morpeth.

“They’ve got a great manager and some very good players. I watched some of their highlights against Workington, they look really good.

“We had someone at their game on Monday night and said they didn’t deserve to lose that, so Morpeth are going to come here and be tough.

“Obviously we had a right humdinger with them in the last game of last season, anyone would have thought that was a play-off final with the way the game went and it ended up a 3-3 thriller, so we’ll be looking to get three points against a really strong Morpeth side.”