Blues’ hopes of top five still alive

Clitheroe boss Simon Haworth. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Clitheroe boss Simon Haworth. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
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Six wins from seven in the Evo-Stik League First Division North has convinced Simon Haworth that the Blues can make the play-offs this season.

Clitheroe are eighth in the table at present and just five points shy of Bamber Bridge who are currently residing in fifth spot.

In all it’s eight wins from nine, inclusive of two Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy triumphs, and they’ve netted 29 goals in that period while adding five clean sheets.

“November was a good month and December was even better,” beamed the Welshman. “We’ve won eight from nine and scored 29 goals with that. We’re playing some really good football.

“I think we can push in to the play-offs. We can beat anybody on our day and we’ve already beaten teams like Hyde and Glossop who are up there. I don’t see why we can’t make the top five.

“I would like to think that we can post around 70 points like last year and even if that’s not enough again then it will still signal another fantastic effort.

“It’s really good at the moment, we are feeling confident and putting teams to the sword. We’re showing a lot of character.”

The Blues missed out on extending their campaign by the narrowest of margins last season but Haworth feels that he’s carrying a stronger squad compared to 12 months ago.

The former Wigan Athletic striker has welcomed the likes of Ross Dent, Alex Newby, George West and skipper Danny Brady back to Shawbridge and he’s backing them to do the business.

“When we have everybody available we don’t fear anybody,” he said. “We’re capable of really stretching teams and putting them away. We’ve changed a few things and we haven’t looked back.

“The lads that have returned have made a huge difference to a team that was just starting to turn a corner anyway. Everything seems to have clicked so the transformation has been vindicated.”

He added: “The defence has certainly stepped up too. The players that have come in know what we’re about and have slipped in quickly. We’re more of a threat up top and that takes the weight off the defence.

“The squad that we have now is stronger than last year and it’s got to be because the league is getting stronger as well.

“There’s still room to add one or two more bits of quality. We’re sometimes short on numbers because we don’t have a reserve team or a development squad. We need more bodies to cover this busy period and that will help to push us on.”