Borough boss keen to end long hauls

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Todmorden Borough boss John Gilford would like to see Division Two and Three of the West Lancashire League regionalised following last Saturday’s five hour round trip to Walney Island.

Borough are seen as something of an outpost club in a division where seven of the teams are located between Kendal and Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria.

Gilford believes the amount of travelling his side have to do has put players off as he rarely has a full-strength squad to call on for some of the longer trips.

As a result he would love to see league officials consider geographical changes in order to help teams like Borough survive.

“It’s a dilemma,” admitted Gilford. “My main concern is that the amount of travelling could kill football at this level.

“Our most local game is Haslingden which is an hour away. That is considered a local derby for us.

“Every penny we earn gets spent on travel costs and referees. There is no way I would knock the league because I think the facilities are the best around for this level of football.

“The league is also a very good standard and we do benefit by playing in it.

“But I feel that regionalisation of the second and third divisions is the answer. That would stop these five hour trips and encourage players to turn out regularly.”

Last Saturday Borough went down to a 1-0 defeat at Walney Island in a game that suffered due to the extreme weather conditions.

“We were blown away, basically,” added Gilford. “Never in my life have I seen conditions like those at a football match.

“ The ground is only about 30 yards from the sea and the wind was whipping across the sand dunes and across the pitch.

“There was rain and sleet - it was deadful. Keeping the ball on the playing surface was difficult to say the least.”

Both teams battled gamely with Borough playing three at the back and packing the midfield.

They looked fairly solid without creating anything while ‘keeper Elliott Gilford was forced to save well twice with one-on-ones.

Tod started to create chances and Daniel Lively fired his shot from a corner straight at the keeper then thumped a long range effort wide.

The second half was much of the same with Ben Whitham producing Borough’s only real chance.

The only goal came midway through the half when Borough failed to clear a corner and the ball was played to the back post where an unmarked striker netted from close range.

This weekend Borough host Kendal County in the first round of the League Cup.

Borough reached the final last season and won the competition a couple of years ago so Gilford is keen to see his side remain involved.

“I want to go out and win every football game and this is no exception.” said Gilford.

“We have a decent record in this competition so we take it very seriously.

“We have beaten Kendal at home and lost away in the league this season.

“They are in third but we have proved we can hold our own against them.

“We have to be looking to progress.”