Town boss is well prepared for hectic fixture schedule

Zack Dale mounts an attack for Barnoldswick Town in victory over Hanley Town at the Silentnight Stadium
Zack Dale mounts an attack for Barnoldswick Town in victory over Hanley Town at the Silentnight Stadium
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Barnoldswick Town boss Danny Craig says that the club are well prepared for the hectic fixture schedule at the business end of the season.

Town will play 13 times throughout April and were due to play Bootle in the Macron Cup semi-final first leg at the Silentnight Stadium last night, having opened the month against Hanley Town and Atherton Collieries.

After clawing back a three-goal deficit against West Didsbury and Chorlton to claim a point, Town left it late to overcome their Staffordshire-based opposition at the weekend.

Heading into the final 10 minutes of the game, they trailed to Joshua Thorpe’s 65th-minute strike, but the hosts stole the spoils courtesy of goals from Mark Threlfall and Andrew Hill.

However, Town couldn’t quite complete the comeback midweek against Premier Division leaders Atherton Collieries.

Ben Hardcastle opened the scoring for the visitors in the 16th minute, before Vincent Bailey doubled the advantage shortly after the break. Threlfall pulled a goal back, but the home side couldn’t force an equaliser.

“Hanley were flying,” said Craig. “They were fourth in the league so it was always going to be a tough task.

“It was a good game, we matched them, and you wouldn’t have known which team was at the top end of the table.

“We scored two late goals again which is a good sign because these players never look like they’re resigned to losing games. They just don’t think that they’re going to get beat.

“They know that they’re always in with a chance of getting something. They were three goals down against West Didsbury and pulled it back.”

He added: “Atherton fielded a very strong side and we had key players missing. They had most of the play and were worthy of the win.

“We had 15 to 20 minutes of good pressure and had a very good chance to equalise but it would’ve been a robbery if we had taken a point. I can’t look through rose-tinted glasses because they dominated for large parts.”

Tomorrow’s trip to the Hinchcliffe Holmes Stadium to face Barnton in the league will be followed up with two games against Bootle at the Delta Taxi Stadium.

Town face the Merseysiders in a league encounter on Tuesday before completing their cup tie on Thursday.

“We saw it coming which is why we’ve put a 20-man squad together,” Craig said. “We’ve just got to rotate players and try to keep them fit. We’ve suddenly had the luxury of being able to rest people.

“Luckily enough we put some points on the board early doors to secure our place in this division.

“If we were worrying about relegation it would’ve been a nightmare. We don’t have to risk people because we’ve got players who can fill the void.

“It is difficult but the squad is being utilised. It’s easier to keep people happy too because everybody is getting a fair crack of the whip.”

Craig added: “I’ve still been able to put a team out that is capable of winning games. We still gave Atherton Collieries more than a game and they will probably win the league.

“It shows that we’ve got strength in depth. We’ve got enough on board to deal with this hectic fixture schedule.”