Garstang manager is keeping it real on eve of the new campaign

Garstang assistant boss Neil Beesley, left, welcomes new signing Chris Byrne to the club
Garstang assistant boss Neil Beesley, left, welcomes new signing Chris Byrne to the club
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Garstang boss Lee Baker has shied away from making any bold predictions on the eve of the new WLL Premier Division season.

The Riversiders open their campaign on Saturday with a home game against Coppull United.

After taking over the reins as manager from Neil Crossley halfway through last season, Baker presided over a relatively successful few months.

He consolidated the team’s position in mid-table and also guided the club through to the final of the Richardson Cup, although they lost to Charnock Richard at the County Ground.

The good run over the back end of last season has raised hopes among the club’s supporters that there could be good times ahead this term.

However, the club was handed a stark reality check at the weekend when it was well beaten 4-1 by last season’s champions Blackpool Wren Rovers in the final of the Wilf Carr Memorial Trophy.

And Baker has sounded a word of caution ahead of what will be his first full season managing at first-team level.

“There are no targets really this season,” Baker said.

“People keep asking me what we can do this season.

“People might say lots of things about us, but we are not in the same category as clubs like Wrens or Longridge, who are spending X amounts on players.

“We will just go about our business quietly in our own way and let other teams make their minds up about us.”

Although disappointed to lose to Blackpool on Saturday in the league’s traditional curtain raiser, Baker was not taking too much notice of the final result.

“We lost to Blackpool in the Wilf Carr Trophy, which is a bit like the Charity Shield,” said Baker.

“But we had eight players missing – mainly through people being on holiday, which happens at this time of the year in pre-season so I am not too worried about that result.”

Baker’s squad is a relatively young one, but he has moved to strengthen it over the summer by the additions of brothers Richard and Alan Coar, who are both strikers.

He has also swooped for holding midfielder Chris Byrne, who has arrived from Hurst Green, and is hopeful of making more signings before this weekend’s big kick-off.

“Richard and Alan should give the other teams in the division something to think about,” said Baker.

“Strengthening the striker department was something I thought we needed to do.

“When I came in last season, we tightened up at the back – we did not concede many, but at the same time we were never going to put two or three goals past anyone.”

This weekend’s opponents Coppull are a bit of an unknown quantity to Baker.

“They have had a lot of changes” he said. “They have changed their manager and should have a lot of new players. It will be a tough game – they will fancy their chances against us.”