Salford City head to Carlisle United on Saturday looking to follow up on last weekend with another three points.
An impressive 3-0 win against Newport County gave The Ammies a first win of the season, with Tyreik Wright and Conor McAleny opening their accounts for Salford before Ian Henderson put the game to bed.
It was a brilliant way to end an August which has seen Salford muster five points from five outings, but now in September the Ammies are keen to push on.
Defender Liam Shephard, who joined in the summer from Newport, says that is what the players have been focused on for the last week and he believes the quality in the squad can spur Salford onto a run now.
“It was a mixture because obviously it was against my old team, I’m grateful to them for giving me a chance to play in hard times during Covid and stuff, but it was like getting the monkey off the back, we’ve got our first three points, we’ve got our first win, so hopefully now it’s kickstarted something, we can kick on and go on a good run.
“From day one we’ve literally worked 100%, today was just as hard as it was last week; we work hard from the off, the standard and intensity is up there and it’s such a good environment to be in.
“It’s such a new squad with six or seven players starting who are all brand new players, and it’s hard to actually gel within the first five or six games, it’s going to take time. But I think, like you see last year with Bolton, if you look at where they were this time last year they were around the bottom and they pushed on in the second half of the season so there’s plenty of time.
“This season has been so much different to other seasons for me, you’ve got players here who if I make one mistake then Tylor is straight in because he’s good enough to go straight in, Donald Love who’s just signed he can go straight in, so you’ve always got to be on your toes and I think that’s what’s good about having so many good players here; you’re always pushing to be better and you’re not just comfortable with how you’ve been doing.”
There are no fresh injury concerns for The Ammies ahead of the trip to Brunton Park. New signing Donald Love could be in contention for a place, with Ash Hunter and Matty Willock also hoping to put themselves into contention after playing 45 minutes each on Tuesday night. Tom King and Tyreik Wright are both away on international duty with Wales and Ireland Under-21s respectively.
The Cumbrians for a time were heading to be one of League Two’s surprise packages last season, but a table-topping run around Christmas was ended by a Covid outbreak, and the shear amount of games proved to be too much for Chris Beech’s side who ultimately ended up in 10th.
Despite the notable departures over the summer of full backs Nick Anderton (Bristol Rovers) and George Tanner (Bristol City), and forwards Joshua Kayode (end of loan) and Offrande Zanzala (Barrow), former Rochdale coach Beech has managed to keep the core of his squad together including midfield trio Jon Mellish, Joe Riley and Callum Guy.
Powerful forward Tristan Abrahams, who scored eight goals in 28 Newport appearances last season, has come in to work with former Bolton forward Zach Clough, as well as experienced defender Kelvin Mellor on deadline day.
Carlisle are one of a handful of teams that Salford are yet to win against having drawn two and lost one. Brunton Park is one of the division’s largest grounds, and Shephard believes Salford can try to use that to their advantage.
“It’s always such a hard place to go and win there I find, but it should suit us to the ground the way we’ve playing lately and keeping the ball.
“It’s a tough place to go but I think this is the first time I’m going to Carlisle and it’s a short trip because it’s usually a seven hour journey for me!”
HOW TO FOLLOW
Tickets are available on the day for visiting supporters with a £3 matchday increase.
If you can’t get to Brunton Park, the game will be available to watch both in the UK and overseas via live.salfordcityfc.co.uk. Match passes cost £10 for a single-camera stream with replays, graphics and commentary, or a commentary-only pass is available for £2.50.
Please note this is only available in the UK because of the international break, the usual regulations will return next weekend.