Blues are in a good place

Photo Ian Robinson'Nelson v Ashton Athletic at Victoria Park'Jonny Hession

Photo Ian Robinson'Nelson v Ashton Athletic at Victoria Park'Jonny Hession

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Blues boss Simon Garner feels his squad has developed significantly since 12 months ago.

Despite the departures of leading scorer Sefton Gonzales and full back Danny Morton - who both joined Stockport County - Garner feels there’s a better balance among his Shawbridge ranks.

While Seydou Bamba, Laquan Esdaille and Richard Burns also exited, the player-manager has added defenders Gregg Anderson, Tom Murphy and Jimmy Heywood, wingers Michael Hampson and Jonny Hession and forwards Brandon Barski, Lloyd Dean and Scott Bakkor.

“The squad is shaping up well,” Garner said. “The balance of the squad has improved after making more acquisitions. We’ve got plenty of cover all over the pitch.

“I’m really happy with it in comparison to what we had last year. We’ve come a long way since last summer.

“Our squad is a lot stronger and a lot more experienced. We’ve retained the nucleus of the squad from last year and added some quality players to that.

“On paper it looks great. We feel we’re in a good place and we just want to get started now.”

Two wins in 10 league outings at the back end of the 2014/15 term saw Clitheroe culminate the campaign in 13th spot in the Evo-Stik First Division North.

They go in to the season opener with Prescot Cables on home soil on Saturday on the back of victories over Barnoldswick Town, Shelley and AFC Darwen.

And Garner is seeking a continuation of that form: “We want to start well by picking up three points in our first game and begin in the right manner.

“We want to improve on last season’s finish. Realistically I feel we can be pushing for the top half.

“In terms of the size of the club and our budget we’re probably punching above our weight in targeting that.

“But you’ve got to aspire to that to succeed, otherwise you won’t achieve anything. I feel it’s a realistic ambition.”

Kick off on Saturday is 3 p.m.