Teachers’ holidays leave Thackley short of consistency going into new season (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

NEW assistant manager Andy Patterson admits it has been a difficult pre-season for Thackley so far – and suspects it will continue to be so until the campaign gets into full swing.

Results have been poor so far but, as widely accepted, results in friendly games count for little.

“It has been a mixed opening but we’ve got lads away and a lot of new young lads at the club,” said Patterson.

“It was good to go to Knaresborough for our first game. It was a good day, seeing some old faces, and we played okay and it was good to be back after the summer break.

“But then we were at home to Silsden next up and that wasn’t so good. We were very poor and didn’t look like a team – but that’s what you get in pre-season.

“It’s good to have some new faces but with the young players it takes time to get any consistency.”

Patterson took over as number two from Paul Clayton, who is now assistant manager at Knaresborough. That is why Thackley’s opening game was against the club one step below them in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League set-up.

Thackley manager Chris Reape’s former club Silsden provided the opposition for the Dennyboys’ first home friendly and the Cobbydalers ran out 2-1 winners. Thackley lost their second home friendly by the same score as they hosted Evo-Stik League Division One North promotion hopefuls Ossett Town.

Reape’s men pushed for promotion to the Evo-Stik League last term, before having to settle for fifth place in the NCE League Premier Division, and Patterson feels they will be one of the sides to watch this term. Yet he expects the inconsistency to continue in the short term.

Patterson, who used to work in a school himself, said: “We have had some of last season’s squad missing up to now and with the number of school teachers we have in the ranks at the moment, there will be others going on holiday soon.

“The teachers have to take their breaks out of term time and the schools didn’t finish for the summer until recently (last Friday). Our season starts a week today with an FA Cup tie and we won’t have our strongest side.

“Last season we finished fifth and had the best-ever points total for the club, so that was a reward for the lads who had been loyal over bad times.

“They are keen to be promotion contenders again this season but we won’t have the full group back with us until mid to late August. That’s a shame but unfortunately its part and parcel of non-League football.”

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