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Football: Beattie tries to avoid panic button.

Byline: Ian Hunt

MERTHYR TYDFIL are without a win in eight games and now in danger of being sucked into the Dr Martens Premier relegation zone - but manager Andy Beattie refuses to hit the panic button, writes Ian Hunt.

The Martyrs host bottom club Chippenham Town today (3pm) desperate to record their first victory since a 2-0 triumph over Bath City on September 30.

Making matters worse is the fact Merthyr have been shipping goals, 11 conceded in their last three outings with the last clean sheet coming in that Bath match.

Those are worrying statistics for Beattie as Merthyr struggle to adapt to life back in the Premier Division.

But he said, 'It's important I keep my head because if the players see me panicking, then they will too.

'This is unchartered territory for me - I don't think I've ever had a run like this is a manager.

'But I have to remain confident we will turn it round. We've been conceding a lot of goals, but the important thing is we've been scoring them too.'

Newport County hope to extend a run of 10 games without defeat when they travel to Hednesford Town (3pm).

The Exiles have moved up to 10th in the Premier Division after overcoming early-season difficulties, though are expecting a difficult afternoon against their fourth-placed opponents.

'I've watched Hednesford once or twice and they are a good, strong team,' said manager Peter Nicholas.

'We'll have to work extremely hard to get a draw, let alone a win.'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2003
Words:252
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