Blues boss Simon Haworth says that the fight to grasp a shirt for the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy final at the Macron Stadium starts now.
Clitheroe play five times in the Evo-Stik First Division North before the showpiece at the home of Championship side Bolton Wanderers, and Haworth wants his players to prove that they’re worthy of selection.
The club has slipped to 10th in the table following three games without a win and the former Wales international is urging his squad to use the cup final as motivation in a bid to keep their play-off hopes alive.
“That’s the team talk,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for us and a big night. The lads will be playing for their shirts now.
“I would like to think we can bounce back to give ourselves a chance because we want to be pushing for something.
“The cup final is their motivation. They’ve got to perform well in the league to nail down their shirt. That’s the beauty of the cup final being there.”
The Blues are eight points behind sixth placed Trafford with two games in hand and they have trips to Ramsbottom United and Bamber Bridge coming up over the next five days.
“It could be an interesting one,” said the one-time Wigan Athletic forward. “But, having a look at the table, unless Scarborough get that third automatic place and the play-offs stretch to seventh, then Trafford are in pole position. They’ve got a run on everyone. I think everyone would prefer to be where they are.
“Most of the challengers have got terrible run ins, but I’m worried about our own form. We’re not on the greatest of runs but hopefully that can all change with a win. A couple of good results can change everything.
“We’ve got as good a chance as anybody to catch Trafford because we’ve got a lot of winnable games. I think it’s Trafford’s to lose; the rest of us are too hit and miss.”