BLUES boss Paul Moore lauded his squad after beating NWC Premier Division outfit Maine Road in their first pre-season friendly.
In total, 22 players were tried and tested during the fixture at Shawbridge on Tuesday evening Tom Davidson, on as a second-half substitute, scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute.
Goalkeeper Hakan Burton, club captain Ollie Devenney, vice-captain Lee Pugh, midfielder Simon Nangle and forward Stuart Frazer were all absent for the clash, but Moore was pleased with what he saw.
“It was a good run out, and that’s basically all it was,” he said.
“It gave us the opportunity to give everybody a go, whether it be an hour or in one or two cases a full game.
“In the main, questions were answered over a couple of players, and we now know where we want to go with them and there was also a few surprises.
“Those players will have to repeat that level of performance and start stepping it up over the next few games now.
“We were putting principals in to play that we’ve been practising.
“We played football, retained the ball, looked hungry to maintain possession, and we looked sharp.
“It was a positive starting point and we seem to be moving in the right direction.”
Several familiar faces have returned to Shawbridge over the summer as the Clitheroe boss looks to mould his squad for the forthcoming campaign.
And, though those specific players may have been shipped out of the club once, Moore is ready to give them a second chance to prove their worth.
“One of the concerns that many people may have is that one or two players have come back to the club who had previously been loaned out or shown the door by management in the past because they may not have had the necessary quality,” he said.
“That may have been the case at the time, but we’ve moved on a bit so I wanted to invite everyone back, so I had an opportunity to work with them to see whether or not their exclusion was justified.
“I want to give every player who wants to play for Clitheroe Football Club a chance to prove themselves.
“The squad will start to take more shape over the next few games.”
The Blues lost 14 league games by a solitary goal last term, though they conceded 76 over the course of the 2011/12 campaign.
And that’s a statistic Moore is looking to rectify.
“We’ve been working hard defensively,” admitted Moore.
“We’ve focused on our shape, working in numbers and looking to cancel out the opposition as a unit.
“Maine Road had chances towards the end but you are going to get that in games.
“The pleasing thing is that we limited them to a handful of chances, most of which were from outside the area.
“I’m delighted that we didn’t concede and things came off for us.
“If we start putting things right at the back, limiting our defensive lapses, and correcting a high percentage of errors from last season, then I suggest that we will win many more games.
“It’s a fine line in this division.”
Meanwhile, Clitheroe will kick-off the new campaign away at Garforth Town on Saturday, August 18th.
“It’s a tricky one,” conceded Moore.
“I’ve been there twice with Warrington and I’ve not been beaten yet, so hopefully that will stay the same.
“They finished in the play-offs last season, so it will be a good benchmark to start off with as to what standard we are at after the first game.”
The Blues will then entertain Harrogate Railway Athletic on the first home fixture of the season on Tuesday, August 21st, before rounding off the month with a FA Cup preliminary round clash against Radcliffe Borough on Saturday, August 25th, and an away encounter with newly-promoted Ramsbottom United on Monday, August 27th.
“It’s a decent first home league fixture for us,” Moore said.
“If we can get something from Garforth Town and build on that against Harrogate then it will be a great start for us.
“I’m looking forward to it and I think it’ll be an exciting season.
“What we’ve got to do is look after ourselves and not worry too much about the opposition.
“They are in the same division as us so as long as we apply ourselves in the right manner, be professional and work hard then we will compete.”
l Clitheroe face Runcorn Linnets in a pre-season friendly at Shawbridge on Saturday (kick-off 3 p.m.).