BLUES boss Paul Moore believes his squad is edging closer to becoming the finished article as the new campaign approaches.
After keeping a third clean sheet in four pre-season fixtures against NWC Premier Division outfit Silsden, Moore is confident that the backbone of his squad has been aligned.
Moore has so far worked tirelessly on shape, cohesion and resilience, in a bid to address the quantity of goals, 76, shipped last term.
Now the Shawbridge chief feels he has laid the foundations of a side that will prove hard to beat.
“It’s all going to plan at the moment,” beamed Moore. “I said at the start that the only way we could progress is by making ourselves hard to beat which is what we’re doing. Even without the likes of Jack Higgins, Ant Daniels and Simon Mangel for the game against Silsden we still maintained that defensive shape.”
The Blues have now focussed their attentions on improving things at the other end of the pitch. They hit a ratio of just 1.2 goals per game last season, one of the reasons Clitheroe were cemented to the lower echelons of the First Division North table.
“I’ve been happy with our performances and the way we’ve trained,” said Moore. “Work on the attacking part of our game will start now. We need to be able to take our opportunities when they arise because at this level they don’t come very often.
“We’ve scored five in pre-season, but we need to look at putting more of our chances away. Work starts on that side of things now, so we’ve got two weeks before the new season begins to perfect that.”
Bobby Langford and Matt Fearon have both left the club, while Moore has added winger James Gardner to his ranks.
“I have an idea on shape and personnel now. I’ve released two lads who at this stage I couldn’t see breaking in to the squad. It was only fair to let them know at this stage so they could seek football elsewhere.”
Before the season kicks off away at Garforth Town on August 18th, the Blues face Airbus UK on Saturday, Morecambe on Monday and Kendal Town on August 14th, all at Shawbridge.
Moore said: “We are getting close to the finished article now. There’s still question marks over two or three players, but these next tests against higher level opposition should give me some answers.
“I’m happy with everybody I’ve got at the club.
“It’s more about developing the lads that are there, making them a unit and getting that cohesion.
“We are not conceding many goals and we’ve been scoring a few so it’s going well.”