Blues get their mojo back

Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner, centre, in the heart of the action in the Blues 3-1 win at Scarborough Athletic on Saturday				Picture: Peter Ryan
Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner, centre, in the heart of the action in the Blues 3-1 win at Scarborough Athletic on Saturday Picture: Peter Ryan

Blues boss Simon Garner believes his players have rediscovered their mojo at an ideal time in their pursuit of the Evo-Stik First Division North play-offs.

Three victories in succession, including 13 goals scored in fixtures against Ossett Town, New Mills and Scarborough Athletic, has boosted Clitheroe’s hopes of a top five finish considerably.

“Long may it continue,” said the Shawbridge chief. “It was another really good result for us at the weekend and I can’t complain about our last few performances at all.

“They were games that we should be winning against teams below us, but the lads have gone about it in the right way in tough conditions. They’ve put all three teams to the sword.

“Hopefully the penny has dropped now. I still think there’s more to come, so we’ll try to keep this run going for as long as we can.”

The Blues entertain third place Glossop North End on Saturday, kick off 3 p.m., where a win would move them to within three points of the Hillmen, who have played a game more.

“It’s a massive game for us,” said Garner. “If we beat them and win our game in hand, then we can move level on points with them. They walloped us at their place earlier in the season at a time when they were on fire. They are a good side.”

It’s certainly going to be an interesting climax to the season for Clitheroe, who have yet to play rivals Witton Albion, Brighouse Town and Burscough twice, as well as Farsley and Ossett Albion. All harbour realistic aspirations of qualifying for the play-offs.

“Everyone else is hitting form at the same time as us,” Garner said. “They are all doing it at the top end. It’s madness. Looking at the table, it’s in our hands because we’re playing a lot of teams who are vying for the same thing as us.

“It’s going to be tough, but I think there’ll be a lot of teams in the same scenario. We’ve got to approach games in the same way as the last few weeks.

“It’s going to be a slog, but hopefully we can stay among that group and give ourselves something to play for.”

Garner is fortunate enough to have the numbers to cater for the hectic schedule on the horizon.

Such competition for places has seen skipper David Lynch and Scott Bakkor, who are both under contract, named on the bench for recent outings.

“We’ve got a settled side which helps,” said Garner. “We’ve started the same team in the last few games, which very rarely happens. The forthcoming run in will be a test of everyone’s squads.

“We’ve got some strength in depth, and that shows with the two contracted players on the bench. That’s unheard of at Clitheroe, and it’s been hard keeping them out.

“They’ve taken it well though, and nobody has pulled their face. All the lads are pulling in the same direction. The squad will be utilised massively in the games ahead.”