Longridge Town's players are challenged to take their opportunities

Longridge Town boss Lee Ashcroft believes his players just need to sharpen up in the final third as they prepare for the start of the new season.

Saturday, 24th July 2021, 8:00 am

Town are back in action this afternoon with their penultimate pre-season friendly against Bamber Bridge at the Mike Riding Ground (3pm).

The game has been dubbed ‘Melling 5 Day’, given it will raise money for George Melling who played for both clubs and was diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier this year.

Funds raised will also go to the MND Association and the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience.

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Longridge Town are due to start their new season this time next week

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That will be the main focus of the day, though Ashcroft is also aware the new North West Counties Football League Premier Division season begins in a week’s time.

With that in mind, he’s hoping to see his side turn possession into goals.

“We just aren’t firing in the final third,” the Town manager admitted.

“We’re brilliant up to a certain point, then it’s either a mistake or a wrong decision.

“They say (pre-season) results don’t matter but I want to win every game we play.

“I think that if you get on a roll and win a few games, it breeds confidence.”

This afternoon’s game will be Town’s ninth pre-season outing with a home match against Clitheroe scheduled for next Wednesday.

That packed programme has allowed players to become used to playing 90 minutes again after two curtailed seasons as a result of the pandemic.

It has also enabled Town’s new faces to become accustomed to the manager’s tactical approach and to develop relationships with team-mates.

Ashcroft said: “We’ve brought quite a few in and we’ve been training them really well to get them fit and used to the way we play.

“I’m really pleased with the squad we have. I think we have 17 signed on and, if the season started tomorrow, I’d be fine with that - but I’m still after another centre-half and then I think we’d be done.”

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