Haworth ready for crucial run of games

Clitheroe FC manager Simon Haworth (right)
Clitheroe FC manager Simon Haworth (right)
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Clitheroe boss Simon Haworth has labelled the club’s forthcoming cluster of fixtures as vital if they are to be considered serious contenders for the play-off places.

The Blues welcome Brighouse Town to Shawbridge on Saturday while trips to take on Mossley and Ossett Albion are tagged on over the following week.

The damage inflicted by the Beast from the East and Storm Emma at Shawbridge

The damage inflicted by the Beast from the East and Storm Emma at Shawbridge

Simon Haworth’s side have lost their last three Evo-Stik First Division North games without scoring and have dropped to ninth in the table as a consequence but, following the club’s success in the LFA Knockout Trophy, the Welshman is confident that they can get back on track.

The one-time Wigan Athletic and Tranmere Rovers striker said: “We have got to win these games. It’s a bit early to press the button if we don’t but we need to pick up as many wins as possible.

“We’ll take it one game at a time but we’ve got to beat these teams coming to us even though they’ve got plenty to play for. If we have aspirations of making the play-offs then we need to pick up points.

“We want to give ourselves something to play for. It was really exciting to be a part of it all last year.

“We will keep going until the end but the next three or four games have to be won to get us moving again.”

Clitheroe missed out on the top five by a couple of points last season, culminating the term in seventh spot with 70 points.

With 12 games remaining, and 36 points to play for, the Ribble Valley outfit require nine more wins to match that tally.

However, Haworth is confident of achieving that mark. “It’s quite feasible, if we play to our best, that we could win eight or nine of our remaining fixtures which would put us bang on last year’s total,” he said. “Hopefully that will be enough this time.

“If we build some momentum then we are capable of beating the bigger teams.

“We’re confident that we can get some results, we just want to win to get everyone going again.

“We’ve got a lot of juicy games coming up against teams that have a lot to play for.

“There are a lot of teams who are still thinking that they can get in there. We just need to win a game to get the confidence up.

“We’ve been a bit goal shy which isn’t like us and we lost an important player in Alex Newby.

“We pick up quite a lot of points at home so everything can change in a few weeks.

“All of a sudden the mood changes because everybody thinks that you can do it and they’re riding the crest of a wave.

“The cup final will help with that too. Hopefully we can go one step further this year.”

Meanwhile, the clean up operation is well under way after the Beast from the East and Storm Emma combined to wipe out one of the stands.

“It’s disappointing,” said Haworth. “I know they were looking to do something about that stand anyway but those circumstances aren’t ideal.

“The club is looking to change things though. Anne Barker has been concerned about the condition of that stand for a while now.

“They’ll look to put something temporary in place in the short term if only to stop some of Kurt Willoughby’s wayward shots! They can be dangerous.

“It’s fine now that the snow has cleared. Everybody has had a break now and we should be able to get going again.

“We’ve got some games coming up that we can be competitive in so we’ll be trying to put a bit of a run together.”