Garner to hang up boots?

Action from the 5-1 Emirates FA Cup win over Pickering Town
Action from the 5-1 Emirates FA Cup win over Pickering Town

Blues boss Simon Garner has revealed that the thought of hanging up his boots has crossed his mind.

Injury to the 33-year-old player/manager at Shawbridge, coupled with the form of his squad, has forced Garner to contemplate retirement.

The midfielder, in his second spell in the Ribble Valley, hobbled off after two minutes as Clitheroe thumped Pickering Town 5-1 in the preliminary round of the FA Cup at Mill Lane at the weekend.

Garner said: “I came off after two minutes of our FA Cup tie. I’ll have to wait until the swelling goes down but I think I may have broken a bone in my foot and possibly strained my cruciate.

“I don’t want to hang my boots up and I hate not playing. In an ideal world I wouldn’t have to play because the lads are doing well and I’ve got the numbers.

“We’ll just have to wait and see though. I am the manager first and foremost and I’m getting to that age now where I’ll have to give it serious thought. I hope it’s nothing but we’ll just have to see about my recovery.”

Ahead of a testing week of fixtures, Garner isn’t the only injury concern. The Blues travel to Spennymoor Town on Saturday (kick off 3 p.m.) before taking to the road again to tackle unbeaten Kendal Town on Tuesday (kick off 7-45 p.m.).

Danny Grady is suspended, Jimmy Heywood is unavailable for selection, Roberto Bonamino is sidelined through injury while Brandon Barski is still recovering from an injury picked up in pre-season.

“The squad will be tested particularly in this massive week for us,” said Garner. “We’ll cover them the best we can.

“We’ve got a really tough week coming up with three away games. We’ve started well but this is where the test begins. I know football too well and I know it can turn around quickly. But the potential really excites me.

“With everyone available I’ve got a very strong squad and it’s one that people will envy. There’s always an injury or suspension that sets you back though so we’ll test that depth.”

Following Clitheroe’s impressive start to the campaign, Garner added: “It’s going well at the moment and the lads are playing with confidence.

“In terms of consistency it’s the best I’ve seen the team. Running on from pre-season we’ve won seven games out of eight now and that’s something we’ve never done before.

“The lads are enjoying themselves but they’re still aware that there’s room for improvement.

“They haven’t fully reached their potential yet and we’ve still got to keep a clean sheet. Going forward at times though we’re frightening.”