Garforth moving ‘upwards and forwards’

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IT’S business as usual – that’s the message from Garforth Town following a turbulent close season at the Genix Healthcare Stadium.

A raft of departures have seen manager Steve Nichol leave along with most of the backroom staff and virtually the entire first-team line-up from last season, prompting fans’ to seriously fear for the club’s future.

Owner Simon Clifford’s future involvement at the club has also come into question, but Town officials insist the businessman, currently in South Africa, remains committed to the club.

Garforth have confirmed that Vernol Blair has been appointed as the new first-team boss, having taken charge of last week’s friendly draw at Hemsworth Miners Welfare. He will be assisted by Dave Smith.

Other changes see Joe Fella take over as general manager and he will be assisted by Mark Hanson.

Chris Wright has been named as the new secretary, while new groundsman Richard Cale is busy working on preparing the pitch in time for the new season, with Garforth due to kick off their Evo-Stik League First Division North campaign at home to Clitheroe on August 18.

Fella, who confirmed the club are in the process of arranging several more friendlies before the start of the season, said: “We’re moving upwards and forwards.

“Despite all the problems, we’re battling through. A squad of 22 trained on Tuesday and it’s a case of business as usual.”

The pick of tomorrow’s friendly action sees Guiseley welcome Championship newboys Huddersfield Town with a Bradford City XI going to Tadcaster Albion.

Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town go to Ossett Albion, while Frickley Athletic head to near-neighbours Hemsworth. Yorkshire Amateur head to Thackley, with Liversedge and Selby hosting Stocksbridge Park Steels and Dooson FC respectively.

Glasshoughton go to Whitkirk Wanderers, with Pontefract Collieries entertaining Silsden.

A derby sees Harrogate Railway welcome Northern Counties East League Division One new boys Knaresborough Town and Wakefield visit Staveley.

Conference fixtures: Shay to host Halifax’s first derby with Lions