WHILE many players and managers across the globe enjoy a merited summer break, Blues boss Carl Garner is refusing to rest as he looks to bolster his Clitheroe squad ahead of the new season.
The committee’s decision to replace parting boss Peter Smith with Garner at the end of March sparked a nine-game unbeaten run for the Ribble Valley club, which earned the former chairman a manager of the month accolade for April.
The charismatic manager is eagerly anticipating the return of his players, and once they do report back to training, he’ll be looking to drill that same ethos, spirit and mentality that saw them embark on that impressive unbeaten spell.
“I can’t wait to get back playing. We’ve got a few weeks preparation then it all gets going again,” Garner said.
“I’ll be pushing the same ethos on them because we want to be that same hard-working team that proved difficult to play against.
“I’ve got seven or eight weeks where I can work closely with the players to make sure we are ready for the start of the new season in August.”
The Blues have announced a pre-season calendar made up of nine friendly fixtures, starting on Saturday, July 9th, when they travel to Charnock Richard for a 3 p.m. kick-off.
Garner is adamant he will be blessed with the bulk of his current squad, along with a few additions, once that fixture arrives.
Midfielder Joe Roberts has already returned to Shawbridge following a spell with Kendal, and keeper Zach Hibbert has pledged his future to the club, but Tom Williams has left after agreeing terms with promoted Chorley.
“I’m still busy at the moment talking to people with a view to bringing one or two new faces in,” said Garner.
“Everyone else will be coming back, so we have a good healthy squad and a good age group.
“My main focus was to keep the bulk of that group together and the club has supported me with negotiating contracts with those players. I’m pleased the club has seen fit to back my judgement with those players, and it’s good to see they want to play for Clitheroe again.”
The Blues host Northwich Victoria for their first pre-season game at Shawbridge on Wednesday, July 13th (7.45 p.m.), before travelling to Shelley on the Sunday for a 3 p.m. start.
Clitheroe then face Kendal at home on Saturday, July 23rd (3 p.m.), and then Silsden visit the following Saturday (3 p.m.)
On Tuesday, August 2nd, the Blues host Burscough (7.45 p.m.), while the final warm-up for the 2011/12 Evo-Stik campaign will see them play FC United at Shawbridge on Thursday, August 4th (7.45 p.m.).
Garner added: “I’m still talking to a few other targets and I’ll be looking to bring in another striker and a left-sided player.”