BLUES boss Paul Moore has cited ‘stability’ as a leading factor in the club’s success so far this term.
Clitheroe are flying high in second in the Evo-Stik First Division North hierarchy, smashing any expectation that had been placed on the Shawbridge side.
But Moore insists he and assistant Dave Hughes aren’t harbouring any secrets, they’re just sticking to a trusted philosophy of consistency and familiarity.
“Dave and I have stuck by our philosophy of stability and consistency,” said Moore.
“Neither of us believe in wholesale changes. If somebody isn’t performing then we try to understand what the reasoning for that is and make a judgment call rather than chopping and changing needlessly.
“We don’t have a big budget but if somebody is available within our budget, and we feel that they’ll improve us, then we’ll go and get them.
“But we believe we have got the foundations in place here at the club. You need that familiarity and momentum.
“I also believe in the lads having a say in the dressing room.
“I give them the instruction and I expect them to follow through with that gameplan because I do my homework on the opposition, I know their strengths and weaknesses.
“But I also listen to the players because I’m not a dictator.We’re a group and we are all learning.
“There’s a great mentality within the squad and I don’t put them under any unnecessary pressure.”
That approach to management has seen the Blues defeated just twice to date in the league, while also accumulating wins over leaders Mossley and fifth-placed Trafford.
The latest triumph arrived at the weekend over highly-touted Curzon Ashton on home soil.
Danny Mahoney – signed after leading scorer Alex Johnson sealed a move to Halifax Town – and Danny Bell scored to condemn last season’s losing play-off finalists to a 2-1 defeat.
“They are one of the sides that people have tipped to win it so it was a superb victory,” said Moore.
“When you look at the table, we’ve taken points off most of those teams at the top.
“We beat leaders Mossley, drew with Farsley, beat Trafford and now we’ve taken three points off Curzon Ashton. We’re 16 games in and we’ve only lost two games - some would say that’s championship form.
“I’m certainly happy with that. It’s a good, sound start and everyone’s delighted with it. I’m sure everybody would’ve taken that at the beginning.
“The lads deserve it because they are a great bunch who work extremely hard for each other.
“They all want to win.”
Clitheroe face arguably their sternest test so far when they travel to Church Lane to face in-form New Mills on Saturday.
The Blues are averaging two points per game and Moore is hopeful they’ll still be on course with that after the weekend.
Moore said: “It’s a massive game for us because they are a good side, but like any other team in that division they are beatable.
“If they’ve done their research on us, they should also know we’re a decent side as well.
“If they haven’t done their homework, they’re in for a shock. We are up there by rights.
“We will continue to look at averaging two points per game. That’s our target, and as it stands, we’re exactly on course for that.
“Overall we want to hit the 40-point mark first and once we’ve achieved that we will take it month by month.”
Meanwhile, new forwards Chris Mason and Scott Bakkor both featured in Clitheroe’s friendly with West Lancs League outfit Hurst Green on Tuesday evening.
Mason has featured for Blue Square North side Guiseley this term, scoring three goals.
Bakkor, who has found the net eight times in 11 Cheshire Association Division One outings, arrives from Rylands.
And both Bakkor and Mason were on target in the friendly, as Clitheroe recorded a 2-1 victory.