Clitheroe boss Garner vows to stop the rot

Carl Garner
Carl Garner
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BLUES boss Carl Garner has vowed to do everything possible to stop the rot.

The Shawbridge chief re-assured fans that the squad and management staff are working hard in a determined bid to put an end to their recent misfortune.

Adam Morning’s thunderous strike 10 minutes from time salvaged a point for Salford City in the Ribble Valley at the weekend, after Eddie Stanford had given Clitheroe the lead from the spot on the stroke of half-time.

But the stalemate condemned the Blues to an eight game winless run. “In terms of results they have not been as good as I’d like,” said Garner. I may have set the bar a bit too high for ourselves early on but in terms of performances we are slowly getting back to where we want to be.

“There’s nobody hurting more than me at the current position of our club and some recent performances, but I can assure every true CFC fan that everything possible is being done to improve matters.”

Clitheroe’s league position fails to do Garner or Clitheroe Football Club much justice, but the loyal and dedicated Blue is adamant that a brighter future sits on the horizon. New personnel has boosted team spirit and morale, which in turn has sparked the dawn of a new era at Shawbridge.

Garner has drafted in Lancaster City striker Alex Johnston while negotiations are in the latter stages to bring two more forwards to the club. Former defender Kev Brown has returned to his roots, left-winger James Davis has jumped on board, Ollie Devanney is back and the prolific Josh Hine has signed contract terms.

“Training has been fantastic,” said Garner. “It was really positive and there was a really good vibe about the squad. Hopefully we can take that into the game against Trafford on Saturday.”

He added: “Kev Brown is back. The hunger is there and he’ll be a good addition for us. It may be a week or two before he’s ready to play but he’s got the experience and he’s the right sort of player I want at the club.

“James Davis, who spent most of his time growing up with Wolves, has also signed. He made his debut at the weekend and was excellent in the first half. Ollie Devanney has also signed after being at the Glenn Hoddle academy. It’s still a period of transition but things are set to improve.”

Maybe the most welcoming news for Garner is the capture of Hine on contract terms. Garner worked hard to beat of the attention from other clubs and capture his man. The striker has scored nine goals in 11 games in all competitions and Garner is delighted to have such a talented player on his books. “Josh Hine is the best striker in our league,” he said. “He will definitely go on to play at a higher level. He has committed himself to Clitheroe Football Club and we are delighted with that.

“He’s been scoring goals almost single-handed. It’s been tough for him because he’s been playing as a lone striker but hopefully we can bring someone in now who can help Josh make the next step. He’s got the potential to kick on and a strike partner will help him do that. He’s got frightening pace, a good attitude, he’s as strong as a lion and he’s got a good career ahead of him.”

And remarkably Garner has his first choice back four available on Saturday for only the third time in 19 outings. He said: “I’ve more or less got everyone back available that I want.

“I’ve let a few people move on but I’m starting to get my strongest players back.”

There’s a reason why Garner’s at the helm.

Two prestigious accolades in the form of Manager of the Month awards speak for themselves. He was the division’s strongest candidate in April and September and there’s no doubt that he hopes to earn the award again.

He hopes to kick-off November on the right note on Saturday at home to Trafford, kick-off at 3p.m., before the home clash against Ossett Town on Tuesday (7-45 p.m.).

“It’s four months into my stint as manager,” he said. “It’s been a roller coaster.

“I’ve been the best manager in the league for two of those months and I’ve been the worst manager in the league for two of those months.

“But I keep staring at my framed certificates and I’m so proud that I have them and it says Carl Garner, Clitheroe FC, manager of the month April and September in the Evo-Stik League, something nobody else has achieved at the club.

“I’m a better manager today than I was at the end of April when unbeaten, and I’m ready to go forward.

“We’ve got a young squad which is determined to move on and succeed.

“It’s time for the season to start again now.

“It’s a long term project for me and the players and we will benefit from the experience.”