THE trust of Witham Town manager Mark Ashford is firmly in his group of young players to see them through to the end of the Bostik League division north season.

Ashford has been confident to put youthful players in the firing line this year and they have repaid his faith in getting the club to a position where they are eight points above the relegation zone with six games left.

Ashford feels two wins from that final run-in should ensure safety so is looking for a return to winning ways when they host Canvey Island at Spa Road on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and is backing his youngsters to put the necessary points on the board.

He said: “The transfer window for non-league teams is ending this week and we won’t be rushing out to sign a load of experienced players.

“There are one or two I may move on, but we are quietly confident with this group that we’ve got and that they can see the job through.

“If we can also climb a few positions in the closing weeks of the season then that’s what everyone wants.

“The target at the start of the year was to not get relegated while staying within the financial constraints we had and to bring through young players.

“In doing that, we’ve placed ourselves eight points clear of the relegation zone with six games to go and had you offered us that when we were rock bottom and six points adrift of the side above us in November then I think we’d have taken your arm off.”

While Witham’s own recent results may not have been as they would have wanted, Canvey will arrive at Spa Road having lost eight of their last nine league games and, with a game at rock-bottom Romford to follow it the week after, Ashford hopes his players can rise to the challenge on Saturday.

He said: “I think everyone is surprised to see Canvey down where they are this year and if we win on Saturday then we’ll be five points behind them.

“They are a big club, but we see it as a big opportunity to get another three points.

“We then have Romford away and we feel they are two games we can target.

“Two wins will probably be enough to ensure we stay safe and it’s in our hands.

“We know we have a comfortable gap on the sides below us but we are certainly not resting on laurels and we don’t want to be relying on other sides to keep losing.”

Ashford said Toby Aromolaran was likely to miss the rest of the season after fracturing his foot at Sudbury, while Tom Monk was also a doubt to face Canvey due to a knee problem and Andrew Tirivanhu is still suspended.

There are also a couple of other members of his squad who will undergo assessments ahead of the visit of the Gulls.