WITHAM Town manager Mark Ashford feels his team's win against Grays Athletic shows that he has a squad of players who are willing and able to learn when mistakes have been made.

Ashford was frustrated by a 2-0 defeat at Mildenhall Town two weeks ago as a seven-game unbeaten run was ended in disappointing fashion, but his players showed their resilience by bouncing straight back with a 1-0 win against Grays Athletic last weekend.

And he is now looking for his side to press on when they host Barking in Bostik League division north at the Village Glass Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

But while Ashford was pleased with the three points claimed at Grays Athletic, he was equally happy with how his players had listened to criticism, taken it on board and used it to progress themselves after a setback.

“As a coach, it is huge to players who will listen to you," said the Witham boss.

“My recruitment of players is such that I don’t rush into signing them without doing plenty of background work and research on them.

“I look at their temperament and want to know if they are coachable.

“I want players who are willing to improve as well as ones who can improve.

“I read an interview with (Witham midfielder) Sam Owusu a few weeks ago where he said he felt he had improved this season as a player and that was one of the nicest things I’ve seen this year.

“To see an experienced player like Sam saying that is very special.

“Younger players are like sponges and they’re easier to get to do things, but to have people throughout the squad willing and able to change is what I’m after.

“We had a great run when the players worked so hard to get those wins, but sometimes you learn by being not as good and I think that happened after the Mildenhall game.

“You can tell a child not to touch a radiator as many times as you like, but sometimes they have to learn that it’s hot by touching it themselves.

“These players we have here are capable of learning; they’ve shown me that now as they took on board what they did not do well against Mildenhall when they faced Grays."

With that result behind them, though, Witham will face a different challenge when they host Barking on Saturday

Ashford added: “There is a thing going round on social media at the moment about a Ten Year Challenge where people look back at where they were ten years ago.

“I saw one on Grays and they were a Conference side and that shows what a big club they are.

“But now we face Barking and I’ve asked our players if they can go and do it next week against not such a big club.

“That is now the next big thing for us on our learning path - can they get themselves up to that level every week.

“They have to turn up and put in that same level of effort week-in week-out.

“I think Barking are a side who have a similar budget to ourselves.

“They were in the play-off positions for much of last season, which was a fabulous achievement so we know it won’t be easy.

“But we now have back-to-back home games – against Barking and then Tilbury – and we have to match what we did at Grays last week."