Quinn has fingers crossed

Brighouse Town manager Paul Quinn
Brighouse Town manager Paul Quinn

BRIGHOUSE Town’s manager Paul Quinn is hoping his side take to the field at Mossley’s Seel Park ground on Saturday (3pm) after last weekend’s abandoned game with Radcliffe Borough.

But the Town chief is only too aware that this weekend’s venue – a former cricket field – is not the best drainer in the world of football.

“I know from my time there as a player that it can suffer after what we have had in rainfall of late and so I am just keeping my fingers crossed that it is dry Friday and Saturday,” said Quinn.

Last term Town had a tremendous 3-2 win at a ground which, at 850ft above sea level, is the third highest in English football along with Buxton and Tow Law Town.

Under joint managers Peter Band and Lloyd Morrison, The Lilleywhites got off to a good start in Evo-Stik NPL Division One.

But until last Saturday’s 3-0 away win at Lancaster, November had seen them lose 2-1 to Trafford, 3-2 to Burscough and 5-1 away to Northwich Victoria just four days after Town had lost narrowly 1-0 to the now runaway league leaders at Wincham Park.

They are now in seventh place in the table on 30 points from 20 games and two points off a play-off spot, but Town have three games in hand on them and have dropped to 10th – only two points behind them.

Irish midfielder Tommy Cooney, who missed last Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury from the Northwich game, will have a fitness test at tonight’s training session and fellow midfielder James Pollard will also come into contention for Saturday after coming through last Friday evening’s development team cup tie with flying colours following illness.

Striker Steve Hollingworth is now back in training after being out injured since the away game at Harrogate Railway on October 24 and the manager feels he will be back in contention for the middle of the month.

The referee for last Saturday’s home game, Mark Brown, after two pre-match inspections allowed the game to go ahead but after more persistent rain in the first 45 minutes, was forced to pull the plug.

Town had the better of the first 30 minutes in rapidly deteriorating conditions.

Radcliffe Borough goalkeeper Chris Cheetham denied Town from two early corners and then cut out a shot on 10 minutes from long range by Sam Hewitt.

He then made a tremendous save on 21 minutes from a thunderous James Hurtley strike before, two minutes later, Danny Lafferty kicked off the line again to defend the Borough goal.

All this pressure paid off in the 28th minute when Hurtley, Hewitt and Kurt Harris got Ryan Hall clear and, from an acute angle, he found the net.

Borough levelled the scores in the 37th minute when a shot from Richard Smith skimmed through the mud to beat Paul Hagreen.

Steve Foster had the ball in the net for Borough on 43 minutes but was flagged offside.

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Mr Brown then consulted both mangers in the dressing room and said he felt it was dangerous to play on, a decision which Town’s manager agreed with.

“His decision to play was correct but it was deteriorating all the half with the incessant rain. It had washed away the markings on our side, water was building up in the middle of the pitch and you could see that with anymore rain the ball would not be rolling.

“While we would have liked to have played and gone for the three points the conditions were not conducive to the way we play our football.”

The league have acted very quickly and re-arranged it for Saturday, January 30 when both clubs were without a fixture.

The Town players and management all showered and then a party of 30 went off in two minibuses to Leeds for their annual pre-Christmas bash and bonding session.

Harrogate Railway Athletic’s home game with Ossett Town was also called off at half time with the Railwaymen leading 3-0!

Paul Quinn has confirmed he has asked secretary Malcolm Taylor to put in international clearance papers for two players who will commence life once the paperwork is through in Charlie Tolley’s development squad.