Todmorden Borough broaden player search

Danny Welsh (right) , pictured against this week's cup foes Leyland earlier this season, was one of the half dozen regulars left to stem the flow last Saturday
Danny Welsh (right) , pictured against this week's cup foes Leyland earlier this season, was one of the half dozen regulars left to stem the flow last Saturday

Todmorden Borough’s days as a team made up just of local players looks numbered after a humiliating 9-0 home defeat by Askam United.

Borough had been in excellent form when they last tasted action in mid-January, but their depleted line-up was put to the sword by a side now 19 points clear in Division Two of the West Lancashire League.

Only six regular first teamers - Elliott Gilford, Danny Welsh, Stevie Barker, Dean Farry, Harry Whitehead and Jack Dungworth - were available last Saturday and the club had to call off the reserve match away to Bolton County.

Manager John Gilford said it was the heaviest defeat he had been associated with in a long career in junior and senior football.

“It was embarrassing but the lads we had gave of their best,” he said.

While suspensions and injuries ruled out several players last weekend, Gilford has lost patience with a crop of players which he believes lacks the commitment of previous generations.

“We can’t put a decent team out on a regular basis,” he said.

“I said I would stick with local lads but I have started to look elsewhere, because we (club officials) are not getting the commitment we warrant.

“We put all the effort in and players do what they want. They go on holiday or just have a couple of days away.”

Gilford said he wanted to bring in four or five new faces for next season and had also been to watch a junior match in the hope of a link-up with another club.

Gilford said he was determined to get a team worthy of the Bellholme set-up.

“The club, the pitch and the surroundings are far better than any one else’s in area.

“We are applying for a grant to refurbish the clubhouse and changing rooms but the players are not committed enough.”

Borough fell behind to a stunning bullet-shot after two minutes.

Although Askam were held at bay until the 20-minute mark Gilford said heads started to drop once the second goal had gone in.

It was 5-0 at half time and the one-way traffic continued in the second half with the home side mustering hardly a shot at goal in the 90 minutes.

Although outclassed, Borough did not throw in the towel and Gilford said the likes of centre half Chris Lawless, who broke his nose quite badly after 20 minutes but played all the 90, deserved credit.

Gilford said he was keen to move on from the Askam match and he is hoping for better in the second round of the Challenge Cup at Leyland on Saturday.

Borough beat Kendal County at home on penalties in the first round and will have Chris Kay and James Hardman back from suspension and perhaps several other players.

However, Gilford rates third-placed Leyland as an even better footballing side than Askam, so it looks certain to be another difficult game for a Borough side which has reached the final twice in the last three seasons, lifting the trophy once.