Blues get new identity

Simon Haworth and assistant Gareth Roberts''''''''Picture: Peter Ryan
Simon Haworth and assistant Gareth Roberts''''''''Picture: Peter Ryan
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Progression is the objective for Clitheroe FC boss Simon Haworth as the club sits on the cusp of a new season in the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Following a summer exodus at Shawbridge, triggered by the exit of Simon Garner, the former Wales international has endured a strenuous rebuilding process in the Ribble Valley but the transition appears to be going to plan.

The 39-year-old, who made his name at Wigan Athletic where he netted 44 goals in 117 appearances for the Latics, has breathed new life in to the Blues, developing a fresh culture and environment to work in.

In-form Kurt Willoughby, Danny Brady, Ryan Cattermole, Jonny Hession, James Walker and Michael Hampson are the only survivors from the previous era but they’ve adapted well to the new look squad.

Goalkeeper Chris Thompson has joined alongside defenders Macauley Harewood, Dillon Smith and Haworth’s second in command Gareth Roberts.

Brad Carroll, Andrew Hill, Joe Mitchell and Dom Welsby have been drafted in to bolster the midfield while attacking options include Alex Newbie, Mo Cham and Dimitri Tuanzebe, brother of Manchester United youngster Axel.

Oli Sturzaker and Bradley Knox, who signed a three-year deal with Wolves in 2014, are also waiting in the wings as they look to impact on the first team.

“It has gone well so far,” said Haworth. “All of last season’s squad was broken up bar a small cluster but the new lads have come in and gelled quite quickly. I’m really pleased with how pr-season has gone so far.”

And that’s no surprise. The Blues have won six of their seven games in pre-season and have scored a staggering 40 goals in the process.

Ahead of Saturday’s opener away at Ossett Albion, Haworth said: “It doesn’t matter what’s at stake we just want to win games. We’ve done that well so far.

“The players have done everything that has been asked of them so far. They’ve done better than I could have imagined. The lads have worked hard and delivered more than expected. They’ve been ruthless and that’s why we have achieved that great statistic of scoring 40 goals.”

He added: “I’ve brought in a good group of young lads to try and take the club in a different direction.

“We want to play a good brand of football. We know we’ll be in for some tough tests but this is the way we want to go. We want them to represent the club well both on and off the pitch.

“We are getting there and we’re doing the right things but we’re still a work in progress. We want to keep developing individually and collectively while being as competitive as we can. We just wanted to give the club a new identity.”