Mellish setting high standards for Blues ahead of big kick-off

Stuart Mellish (left) with striker Oliver Wood
Stuart Mellish (left) with striker Oliver Wood

When Sean Dyche was appointed Burnley boss back in 2012 his mantra was clear.

Flanked by co-chairmen at the time, John Banaszkiewicz and Mike Garlick, addressing the media from the press facility at Turf Moor, the former defender shared his notion: “The minimum requirement is maximum effort”.

It sounds simple but the Clarets are living proof that hard work pays off. That philosophy, and the traits and values aligned with it, pushed the club to the Premier League and, following a seventh place finish, entry in to the Europa League qualifiers.

Clitheroe Football Club won’t be playing European football any time soon, they won’t be competing alongside England’s elite, but boss Stuart Mellish is hoping to introduce a similar culture on a watered down scale.

The former Warrington Town head man is demanding that industry from his players ahead of the new season in the Evo-Stik League West having created a professional environment for them to work in at Shawbridge.

Mellish, who gained promotion with the Yellows at this level, is in the process of putting together the final pieces of his puzzle, where he’s hoping a healthy mix of youth and experience will produce the club’s crowning glory.

“It’s all coming together slowly but surely,” he said. “There are still one or two players of real quality that I want to bring in but I’m really pleased with where we’re at.

“We’re attracting a good calibre of players to Clitheroe Football Club and we’ll be a side that the fans enjoy watching.

“I didn’t see much of them last year. I’ve just brought in a healthy mixture of youth and experience, players who have competed at a higher level for a good amount of time. Some have had three or four years at professional clubs.

“The younger players are hungry and have a point to prove. They know, if they put the work in, that they’ll get an opportunity to play under me.

“I’ll back them all the way if they’re willing to work hard. I want them to be able to express themselves out on the pitch as well.

“That’s my philosophy. I’ve just got to find the right players to fit the jigsaw that I’m trying to piece together.

“We’re starting to get a bit more like it now. We’re probably about 85% or 90% of the way there. There are just a couple more additions that I’m trying to get over the line. Other clubs are also wanting those players as well though.”

The Blues warmed up for the forthcoming campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Mellish’s former club but responded with a 2-1 triumph over Brighouse Town on Monday evening.

They wrap up their pre-season preparations at home to Farsley Celtic on Saturday before the real thing gets underway the following weekend against Kidsgrove Athletic.

“On top of everything that we’ve done we’ve looked to bring a degree of professionalism in to the club, both on and off the field, because we want to raise the profile,” said Mellish. “I think we’re doing that. Supporters will start to see those improvements.

“We’re doing things right and I’ve set high standards. The players are applying themselves properly in training. Everything is building towards a good and exciting season.”