Ashton ready to fight for first team place

New Boro signing Jon Ashton is a worried man. He may be rated by many as the best centre half outside the Football League but, after watching Boro s 4-0 demolition of Burton last weekend, he knows he is going to have to reproduce his best form to get in

New Boro signing Jon Ashton is a worried man.

He may be rated by many as the best centre half outside the Football League but, after watching Boro's 4-0 demolition of Burton last weekend, he knows he is going to have to reproduce his best form to get in manager Graham Westley's first XI.

"I don't know how I'm going to get in after watching that! It looks like I'm really going to have my work cut out to get in the side but that's the key to establishing a good squad," said the big defender, who signed from Grays last week.

"Everybody has to be looking over their shoulder all the time so they know they have got to perform to their best to stay in the side."


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Westley has never hidden his admiration for Ashton, who he worked with at Rushden and Diamonds, but felt the move wouldn't come off when Gillingham made their interest known.

Mark Stimson is a big admirer of the Ashton but ultimately the lure of teaming up with Westley once again was too much to resist.

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"I was sitting at home on Thursday night and weighing up a couple of offers that I had and decided that the best move for my career would be to come to here," said Ashton, who can play anywhere across the back four.

"I obviously know Graham from before and he was a big factor in me coming here."

Westley could not hide his excitement at his latest addition to his squad and believes his versatility could be vital in Boro's run-in.

"He is a fabulous athlete. His strength and his pace are undoubted. You only need to look at his face to see that he will put his body in the way for the team.

"He has got a lot of quality about him. He played at right back for me at Rushden and he's also played a centre half.

"He's got the quality to go forward as well. He is good at set plays so he brings a lot of strengths."

Westley admitted that the performance of his defence against Burton has made it difficult for the moment at least to fit Ashton into the side.

"At the moment you are looking at the likes of Bossie (Michael Bostwick) and Robbo (Mark Roberts) and Ronnie Henry, who are playing in the positions that Ash will try to fight for and they are really holding the shirts and wearing them with pride.

"They deserve real credit for that.

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