Colne FC chairman sets boss Steve Cunningham title challenge this term

Josh Hine, above, made his Reds debut in the Skelmersdale game
Josh Hine, above, made his Reds debut in the Skelmersdale game
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Colne chairman Ryan Haigh has laid down the gauntlet, according to effervescent Reds boss Steve Cunningham.

The 38-year-old, who was previously second in command at Padiham, revealed that he’s been challenged to win the Evo-Stik League West Division title.

Richie Baker makes his Colne debut

Richie Baker makes his Colne debut

The task was set at the start of the season and it’s one that he’s taking very seriously. Colne, currently occupying seventh spot in the hierarchy, are just six points off leaders Runcorn Linnets with a game in hand.

“I’m very buoyant,” he said. “In the last few campaigns we’ve won a title, played in a play-off semi-final and then missed out on the play-offs by goal difference.

“We know that we’ve got what it takes as a club to compete because we’ve had a lot of success. We’ll be aiming for the play-offs again this time around.

“Hopefully we can go one better and get promoted this year. It’s an exciting time for the football club and we want to be competing with the bigger clubs within time.

“It’s a competitive league this year but the chairman, Ryan Haigh, has challenged me to win the title this year on a limited budget.”

That shoestring budget has stretched far enough to bring in two new faces to the Sovereign Plate Stadium.

The Reds have brought in experienced forward Josh Hine from Vanarama National League North side Boston United and midfielder Richie Baker, who made more than 100 appearances for Bury.

Hine, 27, has had spells at hometown club Southport, Chorley, Warrington Town and Salford City.

He moved to NPL Premier Division side Marine AFC on dual registration with Chorley on the eve of the 2018/19 season and then switched to the Pilgrims in October.