SHOT-STOPPER Luca Collins was quick to recognise the contributions of his Witham Town team-mates as he picked up his award this week as Bostik League division north Goalkeeper of the Month for December.

Collins was ever-present between the sticks as Witham conceded just one goal from five league games during the last month of 2018, but he wasn't prepared to take sole credit for the impressive achievement.

Instead, he recognised the work done by the players in front of him in accepting his award and Witham manager Mark Ashford said that defensive solidity had continued during Collins' absence in their 1-0 win at Grays Athletic last weekend.

The Town keeper has been sidelined for the last two outings after picking up a groin injury in the 2-1 win against Brentwood three weeks ago and with Needham Market loanee Finlay Shorten deputising for Town a solid defensive display at Grays brought yet another fifth clean sheet.

Ashford said: “Luca Collins received his award this week from the Isthmian (Bostik) League as Goalkeeper of the Month for December and he said in a piece on the league’s website that while he was pleased to get the recognition, it was the back four in front of him and the whole team who had contributed to the clean sheets he had kept.

“I think that’s correct and it was reflected in the fact that, even though Luca was missing at Grays, there was another clean sheet there.

“Grays were a big side physically and very experienced – they are men who have filled out.

“But the performance of the players in front of Finlay (Shorten) made his job a lot easier.

“He pulled off some really good saves but the work rate of everyone contributed to making us a team that was resilient and one that was very hard to play through.

“We have been a hard team to break down for a while now and that’s excellent.

“My challenge to myself when I took the job was to assemble a squad of players on limited resources that could be competitive in every game and I think we’ve done that so far as no-one has torn us apart.

“I think that game at Grays typified everything that we have done well over the last six to eight weeks and I was pleased for the players that they bounced back as they did."

Ashford added that Collins should be back available for Witham's home game against Barking on Saturday after missing the last two games due to his groin problem.

Centre-half Andrew Tirivanhu is also set to return after a groin injury has kept him out for the last two weeks, but Jack Kemsley, even though he has now finished a three-match suspension, is still coming back from an ankle injury.