Borough bid to strengthen

Chris Kay
Chris Kay

Manager John Gilford is taking steps to bolster his squad for next season in an effort to break Todmorden Borough’s run of mid-table finishes.

Borough resume their West Lancashire League programme at home to Stoneclough on Saturday (3.0) and with five games left a seventh-place finish in Division Two might be the best they can hope for.

That would be a reasonable outcome after a poor start to the campaign but Gilford is looking to do better next time.

He revealed that he was already planning for next season and was looking to bring in some new blood.

“I want three or four players to strength the squad and I’m already working on it,” he said.

“I’ll probably invite a couple down for training.”

Gilford said the emergence of Jim Crowther from the reserves was a plus and he added: “I’m looking for a deeper squad with a bit more quality.”

Borough had no first team fixture last weekend and the reserves’ game at home to Mill Hill St Peters Reserves was called off on Friday due to waterlogging.

There has been plenty more rain this week and Borough would like to keep the pot boiling after going four games unbeaten.

They have a couple of things in their favour for Saturday - the Bellholme pitch is in good condition and Stoneclough only have to travel from the Bolton area.

Gilford said yesterday that the pitch was very wet but had been rolled and spiked since the last game.

“It is as flat as a board and well grassed.

“It is in as good a condition as it ever has been at this time of year. It does recover quite quickly.”

The manager said that Borough were well on with their fixtures so could take a common sense approach.

“We’ll have a look at the pitch on Saturday morning and take it from there.

“Stoneclough would probably set off at about 1.0 now that kick-offs are back to 3.0.”

Saturday’s game, against the next-to-bottom side, looks a good opportunity for Borough to improve their home record.

Gilford’s men have picked up more points on their travels than at Bellholme this season but they did have several home games early on when below their best.

Stoneclough won the first meeting 3-1 in mid-October when they took their chances and Tod missed a hatful of opportunities.

Gilford said Stoneclough had close links with some North West Counties League clubs and could draft in players at short notice, as they had for the first meeting.

Around 14 Borough players attended training on an all-weather surface at Todmorden Sports Centre on Tuesday. Ex-Halifax Town and Guiseley player Steve Huck put them through their paces.

Workhorse Chris Kay, who is best on the right of midfield, and tough-tackling central midfielder Jim Hardman are suspended for Saturday’s game.

That means Gilford will have to juggle his resources.

Todmorden Borough reserves, who have nine league games left, are away to their Bolton County counterparts this weekend.