McIntosh: Beating rivals is crucial to Bucks’ hopes

Martin McIntosh has seen his side rise back up to second in the table.

Martin McIntosh has seen his side rise back up to second in the table.

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Buxton boss Martin McIntosh has highlighted the importance of taking points from the teams around his side in the league table after a crucial 3-0 win over Rushall Olympic on Saturday.

The Pics were leapfrogged into second by Buxton following the result, with one point now separating McIntosh’s men from leaders Whitby.

And with an equally important game at fourth-placed Blyth Spartans upcoming on Saturday, McIntosh is keen to see more of the same.

He said: “We’ve got ourselves into a really strong position. There are 22 clubs below us right now and there are some very strong teams there, many with games in hand on us, so to be where we are and with the points in the bag is really important.

“It’s always the case that beating those around you in the table is important but with a division as tight as this one at the moment it’s even more the case.

“Another factor is that we’ve not had too many postponements so far which is quite rare for us at this stage, so for once it’s not us that are playing catch-up in terms of fixtures.

“The cup runs that other teams have had are great for them but they now have a backlog of league games to play and I hope we can take advantage of any fatigue that might set in.”

Saturday’s win over Rushall was helped by a first minute goal from Brad Grayson which set them on their way, something McIntosh was delighted to witness given how often Buxton have had to come from behind in recent weeks.

He said: “We’ve conceded the first goal in so many of our recent games that I politely asked the players to go out there and be the ones to get it, and to be fair they did so straight away!

“It gave us a good platform and to get a clean sheet was important too as although we had lots earlier in the season, we’ve not had too many recently.”

Tuesday night’s game at home to Stafford Rangers was postponed due to the Silverlands pitch being frozen, as was the case with most matches across the north of the country that night.

Attention therefore turns to the long trek to Blyth on Saturday to face a Spartans side that saw their FA Trophy tie at Altrincham postponed on both Saturday and Tuesday.

Once again Blyth are mounting a solid push for promotion despite the departure of manager Tommy Wade earlier in the season, with a familiar face to McIntosh taking over.

He said: “I was a team-mate of Alun Armstrong at Stockport for three years in the mid-90s when we were a Championship club and he was a real talent, eventually getting a big move to Middlesbrough.

“I haven’t seen him since then but he’s done really well after taking over from Tommy Wade. It will be strange going there and not seeing Tommy, but the main thing is that we aim to continue our good form and again take some crucial points.”

Saturday’s game is then followed by a trip to Clay Cross Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup next Tuesday night, with McIntosh adding: “We’ll see how we fare on Saturday in terms of injuries and so on before deciding what kind of side to pick, but there’s a chance a few lads who haven’t had as many minutes recently will get game time.

“When we rotated the squad against Radcliffe in the League Cup recently we still scored six so I’ll have no concerns about doing so again.”