Paul Moore happy with Clitheroe

HAPPY: Paul Moore

HAPPY: Paul Moore

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BLUES boss Paul Moore insists that only a return to professional football could tempt him away from Shawbridge.

After enriching his profile this term by helping Clitheroe climb from relegation candidates to play-off hopefuls, a number of potential suitors are expected to take note of Moore’s achievements in the summer.

However, with his focus fully on the job in hand in the Ribble Valley, Moore stated that he’d only consider parting company with the club if he was to make the climb up the ladder into the full-time game.

Moore, who once worked as the head of youth development at Manchester City, said: “I would love the opportunity to return to the pro game, but it would be a massive leap.

“Steve Davis did it when going from Nantwich Town to Crewe and Garry Flitcroft, who is only managing at a level above, has been linked with the Preston and Blackburn Rovers post previously.

“It shows it can be done and I’d relish the chance, without a shadow of a doubt. I wouldn’t fear the step up. It’s a position I’d be interested in. Why wouldn’t it be? At the end of the day it would be a significant career step. I’d imagine I would be way down the pecking order, but one day I’m hopeful of returning to the pro game.”

The former Hull City and Portsmouth youth player, who has guided the Blues to fifth in the EvoStik First Division North table with eight games remaining, added: “I’m focussing on finishing what I’m doing here and the club is in a much better position for it. If we get into the play-offs, then we’ll have done it in tough circumstances with our upcoming fixtures.

“It’s been a phenomenal turnaround for us and the club should be proud of that. It’s been a great achievement. We are good enough to finish in the top five, and it would be the first time in the club’s history that they would have achieved it.

“I’m determined to finish in the top five for those reasons. We would be breaking records and I’d love to bring that success.

“If we don’t do it, then it will throw up many different conundrums and doubts ahead of the new campaign, and we don’t want that. We just need to finish the job off now and upset the apple cart. There’s no pressure on me though, and I love it. The pressure is on other managers who have thrown money at getting promotion.”

Clitheroe were scheduled to play promotion rivals Trafford at the weekend but, similarly to all the other fixtures in the division, the game fell victim to the weather. The Blues will continue their play-off charge against Moore’s former club Warrington Town, who he served as player and manager. Saturday’s game at Cantilever Park kicks off at 3 p.m.

“It’s my old club,” said Moore. “They are trying, like us, to put a last-ditch effort in to make the top five. They won’t be a push-over but I know what they are about, I know what they’ve got and I know how they play. They are beatable. Hopefully we will come away with three points, but the important thing is to avoid defeat. I changed their fortunes while there as manager. They were facing relegation when I arrived and we ended up in the top 10.

“It was a shame we lost the Trafford game to the weather because it was a big game for us at a pivotal part of the season. I think the next few fixtures will define the fate of most teams at the top of the table.”

Just three points separate Ramsbottom United in second place and New Mills in sixth in the First Division North. The Blues still have fixtures against Trafford, Skelmersdale United, Curzon Ashton and New Mills remaining in their schedule, and Moore is expecting an intriguing battle for a top five finish.

“All teams play each other in April, it’s a massive month,” he declared. “We’ve got seven games to fit in during the month and we’ve got some massive fixtures. New Mills have to play eight games in two weeks and Trafford have a similar problem with a congested fixture schedule. We’ve played the games and got the points on the board. Hopefully that will work in our favour because our rivals have to win their games in hand and there’s no certainty of that.”

Moore added: “I keep setting targets but the players keep smashing them. I think 74 points will be needed for the play-offs, which means we need four wins from eight games.”