Clitheroe boss Lee Ashforth says the return of key men will help freshen things up

Clitheroe manager Lee Ashforth
Clitheroe manager Lee Ashforth
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Blues boss Lee Ashforth is confident that things will start coming together as soon as his squad at Shawbridge is 
replenished.

Clitheroe have been without leading scorer Max Hazeldine and fellow striker Jonah Gosling since the start of the month with the latter also missing the defeat against Prescot Cables at Valerie Park at the back end of 
November.

The pair had contributed heavily to re-energising the club following Stuart Mellish’s departure with young forward Hazeldine earning a contract as a result.

Clitheroe’s form has dipped in tandem with their absence but Ashforth is looking forward to throwing the duo back in to action.

After four defeats in succession, he said: “We need a little bit of luck now to get back in.

“We’re doing all the right things, we’re just not getting the results at the minute.

“Max Hazeldine and Jonah Gosling are due back but Josh Gregory will be out for a few weeks yet.

“We’re getting a little bit better although we’re going to be missing a couple of players through holiday over the next couple of weeks.

“We’re getting closer to full strength.”

Ashforth has put faith in his younger pool of players in recent weeks and, despite a lack of points, he feels they’ve stepped up to the mark.

He said: “I think the lads that have come in, Harry Blackburn in-particular, did very well.

“Harry Cannon-Noren came in and took his chance. Macauley Harewood was disappointed to be out of the team because he’s done very well, I just felt we needed a bit more height.

“He’ll be back involved next week.

“We’re doing alright squad-wise, we’re always looking for one or two more, but we should have got more points out of the last four games.”

Second-place Radcliffe provide the Blues with their next challenge in the Ribble Valley while Kidsgrove Athletic and Colne follow on.

“We’re in to a tricky period now, three tough tests coming up, starting with Radcliffe who are flying at the minute,” said Ashforth.

“It’s a home game so hopefully we can take the three points. Anyone can beat anyone in this league and the lads will want to bounce back. I wish it was tomorrow so we could get straight back in to it.”