Big day ahead for Borough but new boss Milnes stresses need for players to enjoy it

Craig Milnes
Craig Milnes

Todmorden Borough face a crunch basement battle in the West Lancashire League away to Stoneclough on Saturday (3.0).

Borough slipped to the foot of Division Two last weekend when they lost 2-1 at home to Millom and their Greater Manchester rivals picked up their second league win of the season with a 1-0 success at Walney Island.

There is a two-point gap between the sides and Todmorden’s new boss Craig Milnes would dearly like his side to win and leapfrog their hosts.

However, Milnes is still looking at the bigger picture in his continued attempts to get the club back on an even keel following the decision of previous management duo Steve Huck and John Gilford to quit a month ago.

He said: “It is a crunch match on Saturday but the main thing is getting the lads to want to play for each other and enjoying football again.”

The previous bosses quit in frustration at what they regarded as a lack of commitment from the players and Milnes said: “I understand why John and Steve did what they did but they are not all bad lads at the club- most of them are keen to play.”

Milnes, who was manager of the club’s reserves for three and a half seasons before a shortage of players caused the team to fold during last season, said he was enjoying being in charge of the firsts.

It is a challenging role and Borough still have work to do judged on last Saturday’s display against mid-table foes.

“We didn’t play very well in the first half but in the second half we picked it up a bit,” said Milnes.

“In the second half we created more chances than they did but we can’t seem to score many goals at the moment.”

Borough fell behind to a superbly-struck free-kick in the first half and conceded a second 10 minutes into second half when an unmarked attacker headed home a cross at the near post.

Tod hopes were raised by a penalty from Jamie Melvin with 15 minutes left but the hosts could make no further headway.

Milnes added: ““Morale is getting better. I started with 6-0 and 6-1 defeats. Since then we have lost 1-0, won 1-0 and then suffered a 2-1 defeat. we are not a million miles away.”

Milnes thought centre backs Dan Lively and Cameron Hanson had played well against Millon and that Melvin had worked hard up front.

Jim Crowther and Ben Whitham made their returns as substitutes at half time.