Matt Burton takes his struggling Whitchurch Alport side to Irlam this weekend hoping for a change in fortunes.

Two fortuitous goals in the home fixture against Rylands on Saturday condemned Alport to a fifth defeat in six matches at Yockings and with attendance figures dropping, results need to improve – and quickly.

A crestfallen Burton lamented his luck after the match.

“If I didn’t have bad luck then I wouldn’t have any luck at all," he said.

“I’m looking for anything to change for me but even the wind changed against me.

“In the first half I thought we finished really strongly and some of the passing and movement particularly around midfield was really impressive.

“If you’d have come here as a neutral there is no way you would have said they were second in the league and we were eighth.

“But after we came out of the dressing rooms for the start of the second half I couldn’t believe the change in the weather.

“The wind completely destroyed the game and we couldn’t find any way back after their second goal had gone in.

“We haven’t done anywhere near enough in forward areas and highlights our need for additional firepower up front.”

Burton expects changes for Saturday’s match.

“I will shake things up a bit,” he added.

“There might be some activity both in and out of the club but I can’t say too much at the moment as we are waiting for international clearance to come through before announcing anything.

“If we can get it done then it will significantly improve our goal threat.

“On Saturday personnel-wise we had a strong bench but unfortunately we couldn’t call on that one individual who was going to change the game around in our favour.

“We are so well off for midfielders it’s scary but it’s at the front and back-end of the team where we need to strengthen and we are continually looking to do that.”

There has been an unusually high turnover of players at Alport this season.

Arron Johns, Lee Pickerill and goalkeeper Dave Parton all ended up at Congleton Town, Joe Cuff went back to Stafford Rangers and Dave Howarth came in from Oswestry before defecting to Ellesmere.

Recently, veteran striker Steve Jones opted to leave for Alsager and Sam Morris earned a dream move to Spanish club CD Almunecar City.

But Burton – who always had a tough job on his hands filling the boots vacated by Alport hero Luke Goddard – explained some of the transfers

“Two of the lads that went to Congleton we haven’t really missed especially,” Burton added.

“Pickers whose attitude was all wrong; I got the impression he didn’t want to be here.

“I didn’t want Parts to go although we have a terrific prospect in young Jack Atkinson who I hope will be here for a long time.

“Pure and simple I believe he went for money and good luck to him.

“Personally, I feel there is way too much money swilling around at this level for footballers who should be playing for the love of the game and picking up a few bob for the privilege.

“But increasingly we are seeing huge amounts filtering in even in this league and it takes away the loyalty aspect.

“Joe was a fantastic player but we didn’t see anywhere close to his best here.

“Honestly, in training he could just glide across the pitch and he always had something special in his locker.

“I believe he started the season on fire for us and I don’t know whether the cold weather affected him as he was much better with a bit of sun on his back!

“Dave Howarth has scored goals for me wherever he’s been, but he was awful for me here and sometimes it works like that.

“Sam was starting to play really well before getting his move to Spain and he told me that if ever he was to come back he would end up here at Whitchurch Alport – the lad loved it here.

“Jonah was another one we didn’t want to leave but he had his reasons and we have to respect that and just move on.”

Burton senses an opportunity to maintain his side’s unbeaten away start to 2020.

“Irlam looked like they could be genuine contenders but a bit like ourselves they’ve tailed away from that early season promise,” he said.

“I told the players after the game that I didn’t want them to feel sorry for themselves because there are still 30 points to play for and we have a great chance to finish in the top eight.

“That would represent a huge improvement from last season’s 14th placed finish and so we have to aim for as high a finish as we can.

“Then it w ll be all about recruiting properly with next season in mind.”

Burton is a man under pressure and he must know that as the stats don’t lie.

Just two wins from the last 18 matches in all competitions is relegation form and Alport must be mightily relieved for those six wins and a draw in their opening seven matches.

That wretched home run – the Reds had an unbeaten record at Yockings until the start of December – with just one point from the last 18 has seen just two goals scored from opening play from a side that was scoring freely in the autumnal months.

The team has kept just one clean sheet since September and it was back in November that Alport last scored more than one goal in a home match.

Burton may well feel a sense of relief that his next two matches are away from Yockings Park.

But failure to beat Irlam or Runcorn would surely crank up the pressure valve on a manager desperate to change around the club’s fortunes.