Clitheroe boss Garner ready for return

Blues boss Simon Garner is relishing the start of the season.
Blues boss Simon Garner is relishing the start of the season.

In less than two weeks’ time Blues boss Simon Garner will welcome his squad back to Shawbridge as they report back for pre-season training.

Clitheroe culminated the 2013/14 campaign in 17th position in the Evo-Stik First Division North table after winning just twice in their final 15 outings.

But Garner, who replaced Paul Moore in October, is looking forward to working with his players during a six-week training camp ahead of the new term.

“The lads will be returning for training on July 1st and I’m looking forward to getting back to it,” he said. “The aim is to do better than we did last season, though I’m hoping for a minimum of a top half finish.

“The league is stronger this year and probably better than the division above. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have taken over at Salford City and they’ll have money while Darlington didn’t go up. It will be interesting, a good experience but a great challenge. We still need to be aiming for the top half though.”

Garner has been searching meticulously in a bid to strengthen and bolster his ranks, with former Claret David Lynch committing to contractual terms alongside James Walker, skipper Danny Morton and midfielder Danny Wilkins. But he insists there’s more additions to come.

“Until next season arrives I won’t really know how much I’ve learnt because it’s a results business,” he said. “We will have a good squad, they’ll get a good pre-season workout. I want to get my ideas across and help the lads improve which I didn’t get the opportunity to do last year.

“I signed David Lynch on contract terms straight away. I’ve got a lot of people wanting to sign but they’re not tied down yet. There’ll be plenty of new faces, many recommended players and some that have played at this level before.

“There’ll be about 10 to 12 lads coming back and then another 10 added to that at least. I’ve then got six weeks to have a look and cut it down appropriately. You need the numbers to start with and give the lads the opportunity to prove themselves.”

Meanwhile, the club has already confirmed its pre-season schedule. The Blues will entertain a Blackburn Rovers XI on Saturday, July 12th, North West Counties Premier Division side Colne on home soil on Saturday, July 19th, FC United of Manchester at Shawbridge on Tuesday, July 22nd, Guiseley AFC at home on Tuesday, July 29th, Shelley FC at Storthes Hall Park on Saturday, August 2nd, and Ramsbottom United on home soil on Saturday, August 9th.