Clitheroe boss backs young guns!

Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner is looking at the bigger picture after one win in 10 league games
Clitheroe player-manager Simon Garner is looking at the bigger picture after one win in 10 league games

Blues boss Simon Garner has backed the club’s youngsters to succeed at Shawbridge.

While Clitheroe have won just once in 10 league outings, losing seven in that sequence, Garner believes his talented proteges will eventually shrug off their inexperience and mature in to prominent and influential players at Evo-Stik level.

After flirting with the play-offs for a period, the Blues have now dropped to mid-table following the latest defeat against Harrogate Railway Athletic at Station View.

“We are always working hard to improve the sequence,” Garner said. “We are determined to get points on the board again. We’ve been hit with inconsistency in team selection in recent weeks though. We haven’t been able to start the same XI every week due to injuries, suspensions and departures which hasn’t helped us.

“When we beat top of the league Warrington we thought we’d cracked it but we’ve got a lot of players who haven’t played at this level before. They need games and time to adapt. Hopefully we’ll start getting some consistency in our starting XI and then results will pick up. Results and performances have forced my hand, but most changes have been enforced.”

Garner added: “We are looking for local lads who want to do well and have the right attitude. It’s going to take time but there’s a base there now. We’ve got a great set of lads at the club and I’m more than confident that they have the ability to help us turn the corner. I’m willing to back my own judgement and say that we’ll get there, and these players will be very good at Evo-Stik level.

“I know I’ve got the lads that can improve our situation. It’s awful when you’re on a run like this, though this feels worse than anything I ever experienced as a player. Because I’m the manager everything is on my shoulders and it feels twice as bad. I hate losing, I want to win as many games as I can, but I can see the bigger picture long term.”

The Blues host high-flying Ramsbottom United at Shawbridge on Saturday, with kick-off at 3 p.m. Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s side have won eight of their last 10 First Division North fixtures, and have formulated a structure that Garner admires and aspires to.

“We couldn’t get a tougher game in our current predicament,” he said. “They are on a great run of form and pushing for the top five. The last time we played them they went in to the fixture on the back of a 7-1 win, and this time they go in to it on the back of an 8-0 win. There’s no reason why we can’t go and throw a spanner in the works though and get a result. These are the games we want to be involved in.

“We need to get something out of the game but we know it’s going to be difficult. They are a great side and I know a lot of the lads there. They are a club you can aspire to because they’ve got a close knit team that have played a lot of games together. They’re a great club with good people. The club has a similar model to what I’m building toward.”