Clitheroe playing in a bubble!

Team bonding: Clitheroe in action in their bubble football session in Rishton
Team bonding: Clitheroe in action in their bubble football session in Rishton

Clitheroe FC coach Sam Heap is confident that the recent team bonding sessions will help the club turn a corner.

Having lost eight of their previous 11 league fixtures, Heap has upped the ante with a mixture of unconventional training methods.

The latest saw the 28-year-old enroll the squad for a session of ‘bubble football’ at Norden High School and Sports College in Rishton, which is run by Strawberry Sports’ Aneel Javed, a former university colleague of Heap’s.

“It was a really good laugh,” said Heap. “I strongly recommend it for any team. It’s really tiring because you’re just using your legs and there was quite a few of us blowing a bit at the end of it, but it was a great outing for team bonding.

“We thought we’d give it a try to boost team morale and team spirit. I gave the lads a hit of a gruelling fitness session last Thursday, so they let out a bit of frustration. I had 20 lads gunning for me! We’ve recruited a few new lads so we felt it was a good time to get to know each other. Some haven’t really featured yet, so it was good to integrate them into the set up. It was very beneficial and it brings everyone together for the run-in.”

The Blues, in a bid to change their fortunes, have also been attending strength and conditioning sessions at CrossFit Clitheroe which have been led by owner and head coach Chris Templeman. Now Heap is hoping all these efforts will make a difference when the Blues host struggling New Mills at Shawbridge on Saturday (kick-off 3 p.m.).

“It’s been another good way to bring the lads together,” Heap said. “They get put in to pairs and teams so they have to help each other along. If one person suffers, the rest suffer. It’s been great for their fitness, you can see a difference, and it’s been good for team bonding.”

He added: “We haven’t been on a great run of form so it was good to break it up a bit. I think it will help. New Mills will be smarting as well because they got a hiding against Radcliffe Borough at the weekend. But we’ll prepare for the fixture the same regardless of their results.

“We need the three points sooner rather than later. It’s time to turn the corner. Since Simon (Garner) took over we’ve had some good results at home. We need to show our capabilities. Now that we’ve got a set team, a stable core, there’s no more excuses.”

Meanwhile, boss Garner has confirmed that Danny Morton, James Walker and Danny Wilkins have signed on contract terms until the end of the season, with an option to renew for a further season.

Garner said: “I am delighted that all three lads have agreed to commit themselves to the club. They have all joined the club since we came in and no matter what the results, they’ve always shown their individual qualities.

“These signings are not only a positive statement of intent from the club but they also show that the players themselves can see that we are moving in the right direction.”