New Barnoldswick Town boss looking to steady the ship at the Silentnight Stadium
The former Squires Gate manager, who met the players for the first time last week, won’t be trying to run before he’s learnt to walk in his new role.
His first port of call will be to restore the confidence and self-belief in his players with Town second from bottom in the North West Counties Premier Division.
“Every manager wants to win promotion, but we’re second from bottom,” said Clarkson, who enjoyed a playing career with the likes of Bradford City, Guiseley and Accrington Stanley.
“We’re not going to throw everything at it this year, but we’ll review our position in March if results have improved. Then we’ll sit down and identify areas for improvement.
“I’ll be looking at stabilising the club this season and making sure that we stay in the league. I’m confident that we’re capable of doing that with the squad we’ve got in place.
“I just want to finish as high as we can in the league and then go from there. Then we can review things and see how we can move it forward next season.”
Town have won just once in six games and only Litherland REMYCA, who have two games in hand, sit below them in the table.
Their solitary success this season came against Clarkson’s former employers in October, when Zack Dale, Alex Ralph and Gareth Hill helped the home side overturn a two-goal deficit at the Silentnight Stadium.
Other than that it’s been quite a difficult campaign for Town, with a 10-2 defeat away at Winsford United prior to lockdown compounding their misery.
Clarkson has already put his stamp on things in a bid to transform their fortunes. He’s named ex-Preston North End midfielder Warren Beattie as his second in command while goalkeeper Ben Fletcher and defender Markell Foulds have jumped on board.
“I’m happy with the players that are already at the club and I’ll be bringing in a few more to add to that,” said Clarkson, who previously worked as AFC Fylde’s Head of Football Development.
“I’m a great believer in motivation and encouragement so if we can build a positive team spirit we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“It’s going to be busy, with Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games, but I like it like that. When you’re playing two or three games a week it means you have to be organised, prepared and structured, then we’ve just got to fill the players with self belief.”
The NWCFL Management Committee postponed the term until December 19th, which would pair Town with Irlam at The RG3 Digital Stadium on their return to action.
Clarkson, however, isn’t convinced that the schedule will run as smoothly as proposed. “We’re still not convinced that the season will even resume this month,” he said. “We’re sceptical about whether the season will even finish.
“It’s just been quite a surreal time for everyone. Normally a manager comes in, gets the pre-season to work through and everything generally runs quite smoothly.
“However, it’s been an uncertain time and nobody really knows what’s happening. Personally I can’t see the season getting going again until next year.
“But I’m honoured to be the Barnoldswick Town manager and I’m now looking forward to getting stuck in.”
The acquisition of Beattie, who also had a spell with Fleetwood Town during his playing days, was officially announced earlier in the week.
“I’m really pleased to have Warren on board,” said Clarkson. “He is very well known in the north west and really keen to progress with the start of his managerial career. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
Beattie said: “I’m delighted to be joining Barnoldswick Town.
“They are very ambitious and I am sure my experience across all levels of football will help Barnoldswick achieve their goals.
“I have met the lads, they seem a great bunch and are eager to get going.”