Barnes excited by forward options at his disposal ahead of season

Striker Jay Hart
Striker Jay Hart
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New Barnoldswick Town boss Matt Barnes is confident that the club will boast the most prolific strike force in the Hallmark Security Premier Division this season.

The former Maine Road chief wasted little time in adding to his arsenal at the Silentnight Stadium after becoming Danny Craig’s successor.

Barnes raided his old club to sign striker Jack Coop, who netted 19 times in 37 games last term, and has also brought in nomadic forward Jay Hart.

Barnes now feels spoiled with the options he has at his disposal, with Mark Threlfall, Joel Melia and player of the year Zack Dale also pushing for starts.

The latter scored 34 goals for Town during the 2017/18 campaign and was voted as the most outstanding player in the division after scooping 18 man of the match awards.

“Zack is a quality player and one of the players that we spoke to early doors because we wanted him to stay,” Barnes said. “Zack can score goals and you’ve got Joel Melia to come in to the fold as well. Goals win games and we’ve added that competition which can only make us better.

“I challenge anybody at this level to find a better front three than we have, regardless of who we pick. We’ve got plenty of options there.”

He added: “I didn’t have that at Maine Road, we only had Jack scoring goals, and you can’t always be reliant on one player. Each of those players has got the potential to score 30 goals in a season. That’s the target they’ve got to set for themselves.

“To have that many options at this level is great. They’re exciting times..”

Barnes may be without Liam Blades, Ben Gorman, Daniel Fagan and Jordan Gidley, but left back Ben Emery has joined from Bacup Borough while goalkeeper Ryan Livesey and central midfielder James Ormerod have switched from Brantingham Road. “We’re probably hoping to bring in a couple more,” Barnes confirmed. “I know what those players can bring. We’ve added competition all over and retained the majority of the squad, so it’s been a successful start for us. Hopefully it will get even better. We want to be as successful as possible and the standard of players that we’ve got here will certainly help with that.”

Club captain Jimmy Crorken has committed to another season, with Marc Young and Andrew Hill following suit.

Defender Josh Hill has also joined the club as player-coach.