BUOYANT Blues boss Carl Garner is surely heading towards managerial recognition in his first month in charge of Clitheroe.
Going in to the final game of the season against Leigh Genesis at Shawbridge tomorrow, the Blues have a chance of finishing sixth in the First Division North table after stretching their run of games unbeaten to eight.
Garner’s side have averaged two points a game over that period, as have second place Skelmersdale United and Salford City, though Tommy Lawson’s Skem have had a defeat inflicted upon them during those eight games.
When asked about April’s Manager of the Month award, Garner said: “If it’s based on results, then yes I guess I’ve got a chance.
“We’ve got bottom of the league now who have already been relegated, but we’ll pay Leigh the respect they deserve, although hopefully we will get a result.
“I don’t know how they work it out, but considering this is my first job at this level with everything else on top – the turnaround, the opposition and the results – then I guess I’m in with a chance.
“If everything goes our way tomorrow, we can finish sixth and we were 12th and sliding when I took over.”
Clitheroe earned another phenomenal result last week when they took a 1-1 draw away from Chorley’s Victory Park.
In front of a crowd of 814, former Blackburn Rovers striker Matt Jansen gave the hosts the lead.
But four minutes later, Ashley Parillon continued his rich goal-scoring form to level matters.
“The lads did really well against Chorley,” Garner said.
“The back four were outstanding again. If anything, I thought we edged the game but I’d certainly take a draw.”
Then Parillon struck again in the 14th minute against Lancaster City, before Chris Smalley added a second to shoot the Blues to 67 points, level with Bamber Bridge and Warrington Town.
“That’s another two games out of the way now so now we’ve just got one more to go tomorrow and then hopefully we’ll have gone a full month unbeaten,” said Garner.
“Ashley’s scored in each game to take him to 20 for the season.
“I’m surprised nobody has come in for him as 20-goal midfielders are quite rare.
“He’s been superb for us, and I’m delighted we’ve signed him on contract terms for next season.
“Against Lancaster, we were strong in every position and it was like men against boys at times.
“It’s another clean sheet as well and that’s four for the month now.
“I’ve introduced a new system of play, a new mentality and work ethic, and they’ve all enjoyed it.”
Both Bamber Bridge and Warrington face away fixtures on the final game of the season tomorrow against Prescot Cables and Radcliffe Borough respectively, providing the Blues with a great chance of finishing the month unbeaten, and achieving their highest finish in non-league football.
Garner said: “I just hope they can see the job through now and get a result tomorrow.
“It just sets everything up nicely for the summer and next season for building the side.
“The work ethic and togetherness has been amazing and they’ve taken everything on board.
“I wouldn’t have given myself a prayer at the beginning of the month, with the run-in we had, to go through April unbeaten.”
And tomorrow’s fixture (3-00 p.m. kick-off) will also provide supporters the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to club stalwart Ryan Fisher, who has announced his retirement.
Garner added: “Ryan Fisher is retiring tomorrow.
“He’s had three or four years at the club and he’s been great as a person and a player.
“He’s been a credit to the club, everyone is going to miss him and he deserves the tribute.
“I’ll make him captain tomorrow and I hope people turn up to support him.”
The club will host a presentation evening at the clubhouse at 7-30 p.m. tomorrow.
Entry, food and entertainment is all being provided free of charge.