Liversedge vow to kick-on after Garforth sign Walker
LIVERSEDGE are aiming to put the loss of their top scorer and their lack of match fitness behind them as they face a tough league and cup double.
Tomorrow they host Thackley in the NCE League Premier – their first competitive match in seven weeks– while on Tuesday they travel to UniBond side Wakefield in the WR County Cup quarter-final.
Liversedge do so without 26 goal top-scorer Paul Walker who this week joined struggling UniBond Division One North side Garforth Town.
It’s a big blow to the Liversedge side and their ambitions but it was not totally unexpected as the player had already turned down several offers from UniBond clubs.
Liversedge manager Sean Regan explained: “We couldn’t match the fantastic offer he received from Garforth. I understand the pressure he was under and there was no way he could turn this one down. He had already turned several clubs down and I was hoping we could keep him until the end of the season.
“He enjoyed his time with us and has shown us loyalty. He was a special player for us and we wish him good luck.”
Regan says the remaining players have a chance to show him what they can do but he doesn’t rule out signing a striker in the next few weeks.
Liversedge players must now show the strength of their character as they target league and cup success, starting against Regan’s former club Thackley.
Liversedge will be boosted with the signing of Gary Birchall. The skillful midfielder has been training at Clayborn for some time but is ready to commit to the club and sign on and Regan sees him as a terrific addition to the squad.
Regan admitted: “He is looking really strong and I will have a selection headache as everybody who is available is fit and raring to go.”
Last Saturday’s match at Selby was called off because of a waterlogged pitch which leaves Liversedge with seven matches to squeeze in before the end of the season.
That will mean plenty of midweek matches when the squad is stretched because of work commitments.
The team has been training on an artificial pitch at Buttershaw but there is no substitute for match fitness.
Regan said: “It will be interesting to see how we cope with Thackley. They are fifth in the league and have had a good run recently, they have managed to get play a couple of friendlies and played last Saturday.”
The Thackley side’s recent improvement has coincided with their introduction of several young players who were brought on by Regan.
“It will be a tough game and we know that, but if we can get a win, it will set us up for Tuesday night and the cup game,” added Regan.
“We are really looking forward to going to Wakefield. I went to see them last Saturday and on our day I would fancy us to give them a good game.
“I believe you always have a chance regardless of the differences between the sides.”
Liversedge have already overcome difficult UniBond opposition in this competition. They beat Ossett Albion 3-2 in the last round, when Jamie Wasley scored twice and Walker once, and a repeat of that form could see them march into semi-finals.