Runcorn Linnets boss Dave Wild has praised Clitheroe’s quality ahead of their encounter this weekend.
They make the trip to Lancashire looking to continue their playoff push but encounter a stern test in the form of Billy Priestley’s side.
The Blues romped to victory over Newcastle Town last time they featured at home. Since then, they have four points from two after beating Prescot Cables before leaving the DCBL Stadium with a point following a draw with Widnes.
Going into this weekend’s clash, Clitheroe sit fifth with games in hand. Wild is under no illusions of the quality that they possess, labelling them as “one of the best in the league”.
He told Off The Park: “Clitheroe are one of the best teams in the league for me and their league position was false for me after their very good FA Cup run.
“Their league position has been distorted but they’ve hit really good form, beat Cables and then Newcastle 7-1 at their place, they’ve got real quality going forward, real threat. I know a large proportion of their squad, I’d like to think I know what their attacking strengths are and we’ve got to be at our best to get a result – but I’d say that about everyone at this level because anything could happen.
“It’s a matter of us training right, big one for me is forgetting Spennymoor’s been drawn and we’re in the Second Round because that’s not for a couple of weeks. Big focus back to the league, a couple of cup wins so we go to Clitheroe and make sure we keep the pressure on the playoff pack.
“We won’t change, we play how we play, I’m a fair believer that if we get beat we’ll get beat playing to our strengths. Jamie [Rainford] and Ryan Brooke are both in a decent run of form for goals and assists so they’re making it impossible for me to tweak, it’s probably you’re looking at same again.
“I like consistency in the side and lads are pulling the shirt on and keeping hold of them. We’ll just go up there and try get the job done.”
Last weekend, Wild achieved what he set out to do and etched his name in Runcorn Linnets history as they booked their place in the FA Trophy Second Round proper for the first time (since the tournaments restructure).
Sean Mahoney, Jamie Rainford and Ryan Brooke were on the scoresheet during their impressive 3-2 win over Belper Town. They had to come from behind against the Northern Premier Division side after going a goal down early in the first-half.
On the win, Wild said: “We’re really pleased, when we spoke last week the aim was to get through to the next round by hook or by crook, we managed it.
“We managed it in a huff and puff battle style progression, Belper are in the interim turnover of managers where 80 per cent of the squad is what he wants and 20 per cent is from the previous set-up and you could probably just see in that in how they were with the squad depth on the day.
“It was a tough, hard earned performance on the day, we went 1-0 down in the first-half from a very, very unlikely mistake from Tabs. I can’t speak highly of him since he’s come in, I’m glad the lads around him have dug him out because time and time again and there will be times in the future where Danny saves our lads and gets us through.
“To be fair, he single-handedly got us through at Workington. I thought for the vast majority of the game, I wasn’t under any stress or strain that we might go out, ultimately, they’ve scored off a set-piece and take that mistake out they didn’t have a shot on goal.
“We didn’t pepper theirs but we got in there, got the job done and thankfully, just for once luck was on our side and we pinched it at 2-2.
“I don’t want to be coming across as this really negative, moody, doom and gloom guy, I’m just getting frustrated that the same things seem to be happening over and over, it’s going to happen.”
He added: “At the end of the day, the Trophy is about winning the game and moving on but there is room for improvement for performances.
“I’m not looking to change the squad or anything at all like that, it’s up to me and the staff to get it a little bit better in performances. We’ve lost one game in 11 and I’m moaning about performances, it sounds ridiculous but I know what I’m looking for.”