After standing up to every challenge that they’ve faced this term, Simon Haworth is backing the Blues to pass their toughest test so far.
Clitheroe’s unbeaten run was brought to an end at the 16th attempt when title contenders Ossett Town claimed maximum points in a 3-0 win at Shawbridge.
“We had some key players missing and I think it may have just been a game too far for the younger lads,” said Haworth.
“Playing the division’s top three sides in a week just caught up with us.”
The Blues have accrued 23 league points in that spell, knocked runaway National League North leaders AFC Fylde out of the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy and bypassed Evo-Stik Premier Division side Workington in the Integro League Cup.
Haworth, though, feels that the club’s biggest task is yet to come as they bid to bounce back from that anomaly within their recent sequence of results.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Stainton Park, where they take on Radcliffe Borough, the former Wigan Athletic striker said: “They’ve been on an unbelievable run and they should take plenty of pride from that. They’ve been incredible.
“This will be a shock to the system, it shows that they’re not unbeatable, but it’s all about how they react now and whether they can put together another run.
“They can hold their heads high. They’ve stood up to every challenge and now they face their biggest test yet.
“The response is huge. They’ve had nothing but praise and positivity from me for what they’ve achieved. Now we just need to start again.”
Haworth, who is hoping to have captain Danny Brady, Gareth Roberts and striker Dimitri Tuanzebe back for the weekend fixture, added: “We’ve got bodies back this week and I may need to bring some fresh faces in to bolster the squad.
“Some of the lads need to recharge their batteries. I’m confident that they’ll bounce back, beat Radcliffe and start another run.
“We knew it was going to come one day. It’s no big issue. We are still bang in there for a play-off place, it’s been a hard old week but we’ve got a chance to get another three points at the weekend.
“We’ll take a deep breath, regroup and go again. It’s a game we can win and a game we should be winning if we’re serious about finishing up there.”