There’s light at the end of the tunnel for Clitheroe FC

Blues boss Lee Ashforth (centre)
Blues boss Lee Ashforth (centre)

Clitheroe might be without a win in nine games but boss Lee Ashforth can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Blues lost every game last month amid a stretch of seven defeats in succession, which included a 7-0 thumping against Radcliffe FC, but they’ve arrested that poor form with an unbeaten start to 2019.

Stalemates with Kendal Town and Colwyn Bay, both of which could have ended so much more positively, have lifted the mood significantly and that has been bolstered by a healthier looking injury list.

With the club now seven points clear of the bottom two in the Evo-Stik League First Division North, having been sucked in to the relegation zone prior to Ashforth’s appointment at Shawbridge, he said: “We took over when the team was in big trouble.

“We’d taken three points from six games and were second from bottom. Now we’re seven points clear of the relegation zone. We didn’t want to stay in that bottom two for too long and play catch up.

“We’ve had a bad run of injuries but we’ve done well with what we’ve had. We’re ticking a lot of boxes and now we need to make sure that we get the results that will see us safe from relegation.

“We’re turning things around and we’re showing people how far we’ve come. We’re undefeated in our first two games this year. We’re going in to games full of confidence.

“Two wins will take us up about five places; it’s important that we start looking at the teams above us rather than looking at the teams behind us. We’ve got enough in the squad to win games and play entertaining football along the way.”

The Blues could be without star man Jay Jeffries for the remainder of the campaign after the skipper sustained a knee injury in the 1-1 draw in north Wales.

That would be a huge blow for Clitheroe, though there is some better news where other players are concerned with the likes of Lewis Sugden and Harry Noren expected to recover from ankle injuries in time for the trip to Newcastle Town.

“I always like to have a game but we were carrying a lot of injuries so it’s given us a lot more time as a squad to recover and plan,” said Ashworth.

“We’ve got a busy couple of months, we need a clean bill of health because at this level, with budgets and player commitments, you can end up with a small squad.

“A few injuries can really weaken you and we’ve been playing with weakened sides week in week out recently.

“We’ve got a good squad of 21 players but we may need one or two additions between now and the end of April.

“Then we’ll keep the team playing in the right way and try to pick up some results. Jay Jeffries is our main injury concern.

“He’s been one of our best players this season but he hurt his knee against Colwyn Bay and could be out for the rest of the season. He’s out long term but we might have Lewis Sugden and Harry Noren back for Saturday.”