Building a stable foundation at Shawbridge is key as far as Clitheroe FC assistant boss Ryan Parr is concerned.
Following a mass exodus of players, sparked by the departure of former manager Paul Moore in October, the new management team, headed by Simon Garner, has had to endure a rather turbulent period of transition.
After winning six of their first nine games in charge in all competitions - a sequence that saw the club flirt with the top six - the Blues have now registered just one win in 11 First Division North outings.
But Parr, who featured for the Blues as a player seven seasons ago alongside Garner, believes there’s a renewed unity among the squad, with a segregated dressing room a thing of the past.
“Results haven’t been great but the performances are growing because the squad has settled down a bit now,” Parr said. “There was a mass exodus of players when we first took over, there’s been a big overhaul of players, but we’re coming out the back of it now.”
He added: “I was here with Simon about seven years ago. We’ve got a strong affiliation with the club and that’s important. It’s a nice family club and we want to bring in local lads that appreciate that. It’s a club in transition but we’re heading in the right direction.
“The dressing room is united now, where as before there were pockets of two or three players talking to each other. It’s our job to settle on a team, a formation, a style of play, and get that stability. We’re probably not going to achieve a play-off spot, and we should be safe, so although this is like a pre-season to us we still want to be competitive.”
Though the last fixture saw the Blues lose out 4-2 to Ramsbottom United on home soil, Parr saw enough to suggest that his squad can be competitive in the eighth tier of the English football pyramid.
“Over 70 minutes we matched Ramsbottom but their experience showed in the end,” he said. “The conditions weren’t great and we’re not the most physical of sides so that didn’t help on a heavy pitch.
“We like to get the ball down and play, but credit to the lads because they battled well. They had a squad of lads who have played 100 games plus together, so they knew their roles. That’s what we want.”
Clitheroe travel to Belle Vue on Saturday to take on lowly Wakefield. The Bears are without a home win all season and Parr senses an opportunity to resurrect their form.
“They are one of few teams on a worse run of form than us,” said the 31-year-old. “It provides a great opportunity for us to get a result which is what we desperately need. They are changing personnel week on week as well and they’re shipping a lot of goals so hopefully we can go there, score a few, and build confidence.
“I honestly believe that we’ve got the players in the dressing room to match any team in this division. We just need to build consistency, confidence and stability. Hopefully a good result will spark a good run of form.”