Town boss finding a winning formula

Jonathan Hodgkinson netted twice for Barnoldswick Town in the Pendle derby

Jonathan Hodgkinson netted twice for Barnoldswick Town in the Pendle derby

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Barnoldswick Town boss Danny Craig is on a mission to shake things up at the Silentnight Stadium.

Having succeeded Stewart Airdrie at the helm earlier in the year, the former Padiham FC coach has gone on to guide his side to seven points from their last three fixtures in the Hallmark Security Premier Division and has built a passage in to the semi-finals of the Macron Cup.

Town made the last four of the cup competition at the weekend when Andrew Hill’s free kick on the cusp of half-time settled their tie against Widnes at the Select Security Stadium.

They’ll now take on Bootle in a two-legged encounter: “They were a good side. I went to watch them and they’ve got some great resources there. We had to take them seriously.

“We went there with a game plan focussing on what they were going to do, setting the team up to counteract what they were going to deliver.

“We had to limit ourselves slightly to stop them so we had to take our chances. Luckily we did that.

“The game plan worked because the players bought in to it. It was nice to see what we had been working on in training pay off. It was a disciplined and structured performance.

“We’ve got a two-legged semi-final against Bootle now. On paper they are probably the best team left in the competition but you’ve got to beat the best teams to have a chance of winning anything.

“But we’re not scared of anybody, we’ll take anybody on, because the players have proved that they can compete against the top teams.”

And midweek they secured victory in the derby over Nelson on home soil. Jonathan Hodgkinson’s first half double put the hosts in the ascendancy before Jay Hart’s late strike set up a nervy finish.

“It’s three wins on the bounce for us now and we’re unbeaten in our last four games,” said Craig. “It’s good to get them on the board really.

“The Nelson game was massive for us. It was nice to collect the points because they had been picking up results here and there and the trap door was still open for us.

“It wasn’t a relegation battle but it was a big game to decide who was going to finish where. A win for them would have given them a shot in the arm and we didn’t want to give them that.

“We didn’t play particularly well, we didn’t deliver the performance that we wanted to, it became a scrappy derby, but we got the result which is what matters.”

He added: “The ambition going forward has got to be to stay in this league which we are closer to achieving. We also want to win the cup.

“Then we’ll look to build for next year. We want Barnoldswick Town to be in a situation where people can’t call the outcome when we’re playing the big teams.”

Town travel to the Pavilion to tackle Runcorn Town tonight, kick off 7-45 p.m.