Barker: New boss can get the Blues back on track

The PFA Fair play Award.'ClitheroeFC
The PFA Fair play Award.'ClitheroeFC
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Anne Barker believes that Lee Ashforth is the right man to steady the ship at Shawbridge following Stuart Mellish’s departure.

Ashforth was promoted from his caretaker role last week while former Liverpool midfielder David Mannix was named as his assistant.

The Clitheroe chair feels the one-time Harrogate Railway Athletic and Ossett Town boss carries all the attributes to succeed as first-team manager in the Ribble Valley and get the Blues back on track.

“After a difficult start I think that Lee is the right man to steady the ship,” said Barker. “He has the qualities to bring that stability.

“We didn’t want to bring new people in because it takes you right back to the beginning.

“Lee knows what he’s working with, he knows what he’s got and he knows where our weaknesses lie.

“I’ve known Lee for a long time. I know that I can work with him, I trust him, we have a good relationship and all that is worth so much. It’s important that you’re able to work with these people.

“He’s experienced and has worked with a smaller budget before. He understands our club, which is very helpful.

“He’s got contacts in the game and he knows the players at this level. We’ve got a happy dressing room again.”

The pair were in the dugout for the 3-3 draw against Ramsbottom United at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium at the weekend where the Blues were denied maximum points late on.

Barker accepts that the club will have to limit their expectations at this time due to the disruption of chopping and changing personnel but, under Ashforth, they will strive to be the best they possibly can be.

“It’s been a difficult period and I’ve been under pressure from all sides,” Barker said. “I try to be honourable and give people a chance but ultimately Stuart had to go in the end.

“I just wish I had a crystal ball so I could see how things are going to pan out.

“We’ve been in this position before and only time will tell how it turns out.

“When you get a new manager in all you can hope for is to avoid relegation and see how high up the table you can finish.

“You’ve just got to add to that and try and push on from there. We’ve got to try and be the best we can be with what we’ve got while limiting our expectations during this transitional period.

“You can see the confidence in our performances building already and that will only keep building because there’s a more positive feel about the place. There’s a greater camaraderie among the team.”