Barnes has the tools to succeed at Barnoldswick

Matt Barnes and Hugh Devlin
Matt Barnes and Hugh Devlin
Share this article

New Barnoldswick Town boss Matt Barnes has all the right tools to help strengthen his squad ahead of the new Hallmark Security Premier League campaign.

The former Maine Road manager doesn’t feel any need to overhaul the group but, as the North Manchester area coordinator for Everton’s Academy, and a former scout for the Toffees, he’s keen to scour the market.

Barnes is more than happy with what he’s inherited from his predecessor Danny Craig at the Silentnight Stadium, the nucleus is as strong as anything on offer at this level, but the side simply requires a bit of polishing around the edges.

“We’re not coming in to overhaul the squad because it’s good enough as it is,” he said. “We just need to add that competition for places in several areas. That can only make you better.

“We want to carry on the work that Danny Craig did here because it worked and we’re in to that continuity. We don’t want to change it.

“There’s already a very good squad in place but we’re here to make it even better. I want to see us progress.

“We’ll be sticking to a similar way of playing. The core of the side is very good, it just needs a few additions. We’ll be looking to compete.”

Barnes’s first move was to return to Brantingham Road to re-capture Sky Blues’ leading scorer Jack Coop.

The 24-year-old striker scored 19 goals in 37 games and claimed seven man of the match gongs in a side that was relegated to the 10th tier in the football pyramid.

“We’ve already signed one player and we’re in discussions with others,” said Barnes, who has played for Salford City, Trafford FC, Ramsbottom United, Atherton Collieries and Nelson. “We’re talking to a few and seeing what their plans are. Everybody wants a natural goalscorer and that’s exactly what Jack is. Once you’ve got that you’ve won half the battle. There were four or five other clubs after him.”

Barnes, who has also signed goalkeeper Ryan Livesey, will work alongside Hugh Devlin and Matthew Cavanagh and has drafted in Lewis Clemmett as the club’s goalkeeping coach.

Also on the team is Endrit Shehu, a full time academy coach who is UEFA B qualified and is currently working towards his UEFA A license.

Endrit, who has also been involved with Colne’s Under 18s, will join Town as first team coach. The quintet will welcome the players back for pre-season on June 23rd with the intention of pushing the side in to the division’s top six.

Barnes said: “I was at Maine Road until the end of the season but I knew that it was coming to an end because the club wasn’t matching my ambition. It was frustrating. This is the type of level that I want to be at. The club matches everything that I want to be. I’m not here for us to stand still or be a number. We want to move forward.

“We played against Barnoldswick Town last year and got a really good feel for the club. It’s a great club with a very good set-up and that’s why it appealed to me.”

He added: “We want to finish in the top six and we want a good cup run. I’m a winner and you’ve got to have the ambition of getting some silverware when you go into any season. I’m ambitious, I don’t like standing still because you’re judged on success.”