Barlick boss relishing tough challenge to escape the drop

Working hard: Barnoldswick Town boss Stewart Airdrie
Working hard: Barnoldswick Town boss Stewart Airdrie

Barnoldswick Town boss Stewart Airdrie believes his side possess the attributes needed to survive a relegation battle.

Kurt Willoughby’s 85th minute equaliser for AFC Blackpool in a 2-2 draw at Abbey Hey ensured Town dropped into the bottom three of the North West Counties Premier Division at the weekend.

Town, who had a reprieve from the division’s demanding schedule on Saturday, have picked up a solitary point from their previous six outings and they have it all to do in the remaining 14 games of the term.

“We can’t buy a win at the moment. Our performances have been quite pleasing but we’re just not getting the breaks. We’ve not been as creative as we would have liked, but even when the chances come, we’ve hit the post or had them cleared off the line.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve played well against the top teams and in the majority of games we’re working harder than the opposition. I really can’t knock the effort and commitment of the squad.”

He added: “We’ve got enough quality to go on a little run and pick up the points needed to get away from the bottom three. The lads believe in themselves and I believe in them.”

Town’s task doesn’t allay in the immediate future either. Leaders Runcorn Linnets, who have lost just once in the league, are the visitors to the Silentnight Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 3 p.m.

“We’ve got Runcorn, then we’ve got Glossop North End and Alsager Town in there as well,” he said. “It’s a tough run. Anything we can get in that run of fixtures will be a massive confidence boost for the players. Hopefully we’ll show the character we need to dig out points in these games.”

Airdrie was at the club when it was thriving in the ninth tier of English football, but he insists that he’s relishing the upcoming challenge. “We’re at the other end of it now,” he said. “I’ve been there when we’ve been doing well and pushing at the top end of the division. But I’m really enjoying this new challenge now. I’ve got a great group of players, good people around me and the club is in good hands of the field now as well.

“There’s been quite a number of new faces, and quite a few younger ones. We lost some of our key players as well but I’m encouraged by the young squad.

“It’s a tough and demanding league which will take time for them to bed in and become accustomed to the pace and physicality.”