FORMER Clarets striker Andy Payton is relishing his new role with NWC Premier Division outfit Colne.
The 44-year-old, who became Nigel Coates’s assistant, is only eight sessions in to his tenure at the XLCR Stadium, but admits he’s loving the challenge.
The squad is currently training three times a week, two hours a session, in a bid to be ready for the first pre-season friendly away to Rochdale Town tomorrow with kick-off at 2 p.m.
“It’s been going really well in pre-season,” Payton said. “We’ve had eight sessions so far and had a good turn out of lads. We’ve had to contend with torrential rain, thunder and lightening and darkness but they’ve all worked hard and stuck it out.”
The Padiham Predator, who was the Second Division’s top scorer in 1999-2000 with 27 goals as the Clarets swept to promotion, earning him the Golden Boot, is currently working hard to assemble the squad for the new term. Prolific striker Mark Threlfall and skipper Billy Priestley have already left the club but Payton is ready to rebuild.
“There’s been a few leave the club before I came so we’re having to put a team together again,” he said. “One thing about Nigel is that he’s got a very good knowledge of players in all divisions because he’s been around the North West Counties for so long.
“We’re trying to get the squad together at the minute, signing everyone on, then we can go in for our targets. We’ve got a few targets in mind so hopefully we can make something happen. Everything is going really well, I’ve put them through their paces and I’ve enjoyed it. They’ve responded in a very positive manner.”
Colne’s next test in the pre-season schedule is Premier Division champions Ramsbottom United on home soil on Saturday, July 21st with kick-off scheduled for 3 p.m. An away clash with Steeton on Tuesday, July 24th, with kick-off at 7 p.m., is followed by a home fixture against Radcliffe Borough on the Saturday with kick-off at 3 p.m. The final warm-up game will see the Reds travel to Chadderton on Tuesday, July 31st, with the new season starting against St Helens Town at Holt House on Saturday, August 4th.
“We want to get off to a flier once these games get underway,” said Payton. “Results aren’t massive in pre-season, we just need to be ready for St Helens, get it right for when the campaign starts and progress from there. We’ve already done a lot of work but there’s still a lot to do. My aim is to do better than last season.”
Meanwhile, Colne Reserves travel to Hurst Green on Tuesday and host Silsden Reserves on Thursday, July 26th at 7-30 p.m.
Colne Football Club is holding a barbeque and presentation event at the XLCR Stadium at Holt House on Sunday. Supporters and their friends and families are all welcome for an enjoyable day and a chance to meet the players and coaching staff in an informal atmosphere.
The fun starts at 3 p.m. with games and is followed by the barbeque with chef Richard. Awards will then be presented to the outstanding players of last season and to finish the night off there is entertainment from a local female vocalist. Everyone is welcome to come along to show your support for the local club.