CLITHEROE chairman Anne Barker has sent out a message of optimism to the Blues faithful.
Barker accepts the league table, along with the harrowing statistic of one win in 13 outings in all competitions, doesn’t make for good reading, but she maintains the outlook at Shawbridge is very positive.
Manager Carl Garner has built a young squad which requires time to grow, both as individuals and as a team, gel and blossom.
But the long-term venture will inevitably benefit the club when the transitional process comes to fruition.
The current inexperience and naivety within the side was duly highlighted with results in recent days.
Goals from Ashley Parillon, Jordan Hulme, Josh Hine and Joe Roberts guided the Blues to a 4-0 victory over fellow strugglers Radcliffe Borough, but they were on the wrong end of that same scoreline when league leaders Curzon Ashton arrived in the Ribble Valley.
It was a case of going from one extreme to the other.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster this week, as has the season really,” said Barker.
“We won one game 4-0, and then lost 4-0. It does really sum things up for us at the moment, and we are under a bit of pressure from supporters.
“But we are building with a long-term vision for the club.
“We would like to be higher in the table, but that will come in time.
“Our squad is young, lacks experience and is relatively naive, but we’ve got some quality players on board and they are the right ones to take the club forward.
“People are just going to have to be patient.”
Recent signings Bobby Langford and Hulme, brought in to take the weight off young Josh Hine’s shoulders, are examples of the burgeoning talent at the club, and the exciting prospects that Garner is looking to draft in.
“We’ve experimented with the personnel and the team this season and it hasn’t worked, but we really feel that we’ve got the nucleus of a good side now,” Barker added.
“They need to gel and learn the game because I think the average age is around 21 or 22.
“At the moment, they are coming up against seasoned players, so we have to limit our expectations for now.
“Carl has brought in exciting talents in Bobby Langford, from Darwen, and Jordan Hulme, from Padiham.
“If we’d have had them at the start of the season, we wouldn’t be in this situation now.
“They can make things happen and they score goals.”
But things won’t be getting any easier in Clitheroe’s immediate future as they travel to in-form Farsley on Saturday, before taking on second-place Skelmersdale United on Tuesday evening.
However, relegation will never be a topic of conversation at Shawbridge.
“The general outlook is one of reserved optimism,” Barker said.
“We are not even talking about relegation, that isn’t going to happen.
“We need to let these players do their jobs and tweak things when we need to.
“We are not going to get in to the play-offs, but equally we are not going to get dragged in to the relegation zone.”