Striker Gonzales returns to Shawbridge

Striker Sefton Gonzales has returned to Shawbridge after a summer switch to Stockport County
Striker Sefton Gonzales has returned to Shawbridge after a summer switch to Stockport County

Blues boss Simon Garner has welcomed Sefton Gonzales back to Shawbridge after the striker brought his brief stint at Stockport to an end.

The 23-year-old moved to Edgeley Park alongside former Clitheroe full back Danny Morton in the summer, but found his opportunities limited with the National League North outfit.

Gonzales was loaned out to Evo-Stik Premier Division side Salford City earlier in the month, but has decided to rekindle his romance with football in the Ribble Valley.

“It’s great to have him back at the club,” said Garner. “It’s a massive positive for us because we didn’t expect it. It’s a real bonus but it’s just a shame that it didn’t work out for him at Stockport. He wasn’t playing as much as he would’ve liked, and he grew frustrated with it. It’s a shame that he didn’t see it out, but he wants to play football.

“He adds to the group and we’ve got a really strong squad going forward now. His presence will be key for us because he can occupy defenders by himself due to his size and athleticism.”

Garner added: “He gives us something different; he’s got ability, he gets hold of the ball and he wins it in the air. He gives centre-halves a hard time. Hopefully we can get him scoring again because he didn’t score at Stockport.

“He wants to get playing and scoring goals again to get his confidence back. I’m looking forward to seeing him stick the ball in the back of the net.”

The Blues sit sixth in the First Division North table but have endured a mixed set of results. Basement side New Mills, yet to register a point, raced into a two-goal lead at the weekend with Ben Connolly and Dean McGregor netting in the opening five minutes. However, the visitors responded well and hit back through first half strikes from Scott Harries, Scott Bakkor and Louis Mayers.

But they were comfortably beaten by table-toppers Glossop North End midweek. Callum Hendry scored the consolation for Clitheroe after a Jamie Rainford hat-trick and a Kieran Lugsden strike gave the hosts the advantage.

“We probably need to strengthen down the spine of the team,” Garner said. “We need to add defensively and maybe add a goalkeeper if we’re to challenge and stay where we are. We don’t want to drop down the table.

“There are teams below us with big squads, big experience and big budgets. We’ve done extremely well but we’ve got to improve.”

Clitheroe are at home to Trafford on Saturday.