Clitheroe boss Garner set to ring changes

Carl Garner
Carl Garner

CLITHEROE boss Carl Garner is set to make drastic changes at Shawbridge.

A cull at the club is imminent as Garner looks to build a squad capable of mounting a First Division North play-off challenge. But April’s Manager of the Month recipient, who has yet to taste defeat in any competitive game, is far from happy with what he’s witnessed to date.

The Blues beat Silsden 2-1 at home on Saturday but were lost 3-0 against Burscough on Tuesday evening, again on home soil.

“We got beat 3-0 at home to Burscough and I think I used about 19 players,” he said. “There will be a cull and five or six players will be released. They’re just not good enough. I tried to give people opportunities and they just haven’t taken them. I’ll be casting the net out this week to bring in players.”

He added: “It was a reasonable performance against Silsden but the defeat against Burscough showed me we’re a million miles away from where we need to be. It’s time to make decisions on people, which is what I’m doing. I need to recruit one or two proper non-league players.

“I want to apologise to anyone who came to the game on Tuesday evening. We were embarrassing in the second half. We folded like a pack of cards - the white flag came out.”

Garner’s side went nine games unbeaten at the end of the 2010/11 campaign, beating the likes of AFC Fylde and Lancaster City while claiming a point versus Chorley and Curzon Ashton. It was the Blues’ best ever finish in the non-league pyramid but Garner admits he hasn’t been getting that same response.

“I’m not settling for what I’m getting at the moment,” he said. “It’s not good enough. I’ve got one or two things that I’m trying to push over the pocket. I’m not happy with the attitude or application of the bulk of my squad. Changes have got to be made. It’s going to be a busy week.”

Garner added: “I’ve still got nine of the players who helped me get the Manager of the Month award in April but I’d say only three of those at the moment are reaching those same levels. It’s going to be a massive task to have them ready for the new season but I’m confident I’ll get there.”

Meanwhile, AFC Fylde have signed full-back Jimmy Heywood for an undisclosed fee. “Jimmy Heywood has signed for AFC Fylde which is a massive blow for us. I turned two offers down for him but they met the valuation and he was allowed to speak to them. The deal they’ve offered him is one we just can’t compete with. If I paid the money that Fylde are splashing out on players I could only put four players on the pitch, and they’re in our division. I can’t blame Jimmy for going. The move will change his life. It’s a massive loss but I wish both Fylde and Jimmy the very best of luck.”

Clitheroe face FC United of Manchester tonight at Shawbridge in their final friendly, kick-off 7-45 p.m.