Clitheroe FC face tough end to season

Lee Sculpher in his playing days for the Blues
Lee Sculpher in his playing days for the Blues
Share this article

INTERIM Blues boss Lee Sculpher refuses to be intimidated by Clitheroe’s remaining fixtures.

The Shawbridge side face four of the First Division North top seven as the 2011/12 season comes to a close, but Sculpher, along with assistant Dave Burgess, is confident of picking up the points to secure safety.

Cammell Laird and Wakefield currently occupy the bottom two, while Harrogate Railway Athletic and Ossett Albion separate the Blues from the relegation trap door.

Clitheroe looked like extending that gap at the weekend, only to surrender a two-goal lead against fellow strugglers Albion.

“We set off extremely well and took an early 2-0 lead,” said Sculpher.

“We wanted to push on from there, but fair play to Ossett because they battled back well.

“After Ossett pulled one back, it was quite an even game up towards half-time.

“They forced us back for the opening 15 minutes or so of the second half, and got their equaliser.

“But all credit to our lads, because they didn’t let their heads drop. We showed great resolve and really should have gone on to win the game.

“We dominated the final quarter-of-an-hour.

“They could have felt sorry for themselves, but they showed fantastic character to keep fighting until the end.”

Clitheroe’s final run-in begins at sixth-placed Garforth Town on Saturday, and that is followed by a tough clash at home to play-off hopefuls Lancaster City on Easter Monday.

Woodley Sports, who are seventh, are the final visitors of the campaign to Shawbridge on April 14th, before the season is rounded off with a tricky trip to current leaders AFC Fylde the following Saturday.

“It’s a tough run-in,” said Sculpher. “But there’s no reason why we can’t take points from them.

“We won at Lancaster on Boxing Day so there’s no reason for us to be frightened.

“We’ve shown in three of our last four games what we’re capable of.

“We know we’ve got the qualities and we’re capable of scoring goals, and we want to pick up the points now to ease the tension going into the final couple of games.

“It’s all tightening up now. The bottom clubs have all picked up a few points.

“With the run-in we’ve got, it’s going to be difficult for us, whereas others around us are playing sides lower down in the league.

“But we’ve got points in the bag, and our goal difference in some respects gives us an extra point.”

And despite the lowly league position, and the obvious hardships ahead, Sculpher is adamant everyone involved at the club is relishing the challenge.

“It’s all new to me as well,” he said. “I’ve only once been involved in a relegation dogfight, and that was about 16 years ago as a player at Bamber Bridge.

“I’m just trying to pass on my experience to the players.

“Despite our position everyone is in good spirits.

“We’ve got to repeat our form from our previous four games to our next four games.

“The players are very calm and enjoying the situation and the challenge. It’s not a nice position to be in, but everyone’s relaxed, and this will ultimately stand the players in good stead for future battles that lie ahead in their careers.”