SIMON BURTON has added to his Runcorn Town squad in a week in which he admits to being haunted by his side’s FA Vase defeat to Billingham Synthonia.
The Town boss has brought in centre forward Gareth Grant from Atherton LR and central midfielder Danny Cummins has also returned to the club.
The acquisitions have however failed to lift the club’s 34-year-old manager after the weekend’s 2-1 cup defeat.
“I’m absolutely gutted,” said Burton. “We never turned up, that’s the bottom line. Billingham were better and deserved it. I think they wanted it more than us which is disappointing. They kept the ball better than we did and looked more hungry. That said, we missed chances which is frustrating.”
Town entertained the Northern League outfit in the replay at Pavilions after earning a goalless draw seven days earlier.
The home side fell two behind with 10 minutes to go, before Jason Carey notched a consolation.
A win would have taken Town to within three games of a dream Wembley trip. Something Burton is all too aware of.
He added: “We were in the last 16 of a national cup and it’s not very often you get that sort of opportunity. I think Billingham will beat Bournemouth in the next round and I think we would have. It’s a massive opportunity missed.
“What disappoints me most is I said to the lads ‘don’t go out there and have any regrets.’ I think a few were still in the dressing room thinking about what they could have done though.”
Asked if this is the lowest he’s felt during his time at the club, Burton said: “I think it is. I’ve barely slept all weekend thinking about the game.
“The goals we conceded were very sloppy. That’s not to say it was the back four’s fault, they were just poor goals from a team point of view at this level of football.
“We have to work on these things now and get stronger.”
Burton’s men were denied the opportunity to bounce back from the defeat when Tuesday’s clash with Alsager Town succumbed to frost.
As a result, Saturday’s trip to Ashton Athletic will offer Town’s players the first chance to appease Burton’s frustrations.
“It’s a big game,” he added.
“We are still in the league cup and the league.
“We’ve just got to put a run together and focus on winning every game as it comes now. I’m looking for a reaction.”
New signing Grant will come straight into the squad for the fixture, and his new boss believes the 21-year-old can offer a new dimension.
“Gareth’s a big strong centre forward with great ability and touch,” added the former Bamber Bridge player. “I think he will bring a physical aspect to our game which I sometimes think we lack.”
Cummins – the week’s other signing – will miss the game as a result of a one match ban. Town will also welcome back Shaun Chart and Paul Shanley who were both cup tied for last weekend’s cup defeat.