Thursday, September 06, 2007

Exciting week ahead

FC United come to town Tuesday

By Adrian Capstick

AN exciting week awaits Clitheroe FC as big crowds, new clubs and large rewards all feature in the Shawbridge side's plans.

FC United of Manchester are the Blues' visitors on Tuesday, and over 1,000 fans are expected to travel for the evening kick-off.

It is the first time the two teams have met for a league fixture, although a successful friendly 18 months ago saw a similar number of supporters make the trip.

Player-manager Neil Reynolds looks forward to hosting the newly-promoted club, but Clitheroe first face their longest away trip of the season at another new UniBond side in the North East on Saturday.

And after the games against Newcastle Blue Star and FC United, the Blues boss takes his side into a plum FA Cup tie at Chorley.

So with new challenges ahead, a bumper crowd to play in front of and FA Cup prize money on offer, Reynolds' side are not short of motivation.

The Blues boss said: "Newcastle have a massive pitch and a big 10,000 seater stadium they share with Newcastle Falcons rugby club. We've a full squad and it's good to bring the lads together for such a trip so early in the season.

"It builds camaraderie on the coach and helps bond the side together.

"FC United is a good one for both us and the fans, and to get anything through the gate like the numbers they command is great for the club and much needed revenue.

"We saw in our friendly with them last time what a pleasure they are to host, and it's always nice to play in front of a crowd of that capacity."

Reynolds welcomes back several players to the squad for the trip to Newcastle, and hopes to have a new left-sided player on board too.

Saturday's 3-2 FA Cup win over St Helens Town was made difficult by injuries, but that pressure has been alleviated.

He said: "We've now gone two games unbeaten. We had a good performance against Garforth and then a scrappy result against St Helens Town, which I was pleased with given our injuries.
"I was just happy to get through with what we had available to us. We put out the best team we could, changed the system at half-time and it worked for us.

"We should almost have a clean bill of health for Saturday. John Osbourne is back, Chris Ward returns, I've got over an injury and there's both Pete Smith and Paul Osbourne who came though Saturday's game."

Only Ryan Fisher, Will Exton and Sam Heap remain on the side lines.

Fisher (ankle) is a long-term casualty, Exton is out with a recurring shoulder injury and Heap, who has been biding his time for a place in the forward line, picked up a knock in training last week.

Clitheroe fans are being advised to arrive earlier than usual for Tuesday's 7-45 p.m. kick-off in order to get in the ground before the game starts. Parking will be restricted and there will be queues at the gates.

And for anyone wishing to go to the Newcastle game, a coach leaves Shawbridge at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Last Updated: 05 September 2007 4:40 PM