BLUES boss Carl Garner has declared that everything is in place for Clitheroe to tackle the new campaign.
Garner’s side rounded off their pre-season preparations with an inspiring 2-1 victory over last season’s Northern Premier League Premier Division play-off finalists FC United, with both goals coming from last year’s Golden Boot recipient Ash Parillon.
“Everything is good,” said Garner. “We beat FC United 2-1 after I put my strongest team out, employing players in their correct positions. It was a fantastic result and a great performance. Ash Parillon scored twice; he’s the best player in our league in my opinion. We are all set to go.
“They were fantastic last week and they performed to their capabilities. We looked solid, passed the ball well and created chances. Steve Mercer was unbelievable at the back.”
Garner has stripped the squad of any excess baggage, whittling the Shawbridge ranks down to 19 players in the process. Meanwhile, former Shrewsbury Town defender Dan Barnett, winger Alex Ralph, midfielder Ross Dent, former ex-Chorley striker Danny Norwood and Bamber Bridge forward Matt Atherton have all been drafted in to boost Clitheroe’s Evo-Stik First Division North play-off bid.
“I’ve whittled the squad down to 19 players and they all know what’s expected of them,” Garner said. “I’m happy with them and it’s all systems go. There still might be one or two movements both in and out yet. But I’m comfortable with what I’ve got and I’m happy with how they’ve performed.
“The situation is much better than how it’s been recently, as is the attitude and application.” He added: “We were carrying too many players and there were many who lacked quality. We’ve cleared the decks and I’ve gone with players who I trust. The difference has been phenomenal.”
Normal service resumes on Saturday as Wakefield are the visitors to the Ribble Valley to kick-off the new season, which begins at 3 p.m. The Blues then travel to the QED Stadium on Tuesday evening to face rivals Bamber Bridge with kick-off at 7-45 p.m.
Garner said: “You never know what you’re going to get with Wakefield, especially on the opening day of the season, but Bamber Bridge are a big, strong and experienced side. We just need to pick up some results and get the points on the board.”
Garner’s unbeaten run as manager stands at nine games and he’s determined to keep that streak going. He said: “I want to keep that unbeaten run going as long as we can.
“We will play these two games and assess where we are good and where we are bad.
“All 19 players are desperate to get into the team.”