NCEL: Knaresborough Town pair rule out Harrogate Railway manager application

Mike Bligh manages Knaresborough Town Reserves but also works at Harrogate Town
Mike Bligh manages Knaresborough Town Reserves but also works at Harrogate Town
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Knaresborough Town pair Paul Stansfield and Mike Bligh have ruled themselves out of contention for the Harrogate Railway manager’s position following Lee Asforth’s resignation.

Ashforth quit Railway on Monday night following the club’s humiliating FA Cup exit on Saturday where they lost 5-0 to Northern League side Consett at Station View.

Railway lie fourth bottom in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division after dropping out of the Evo-Stik League last season.

Bligh was approached by Railway in pre-season over the then vacant assistant manager’s position at the Starbeck but opted to stay in charge of Knaresborough’s Reserves due to commitments at Harrogate Town.

His contract at the CNG Stadium, as secretary, means he must commit to working home matches and therefore has no intention of applying for the position.

Stansfield represented Railway during his playing career and has made a strong impression in local football circles since taking over from Brian Davey as Knaresborough first team boss.

Paul Stansfield, left, alongside Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Paul Stansfield, left, alongside Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver (Photo: Craig Dinsdale)

Knaresborough almost finished inside the NCEL Division One play-offs in Stansfield’s first year in charge and are unbeaten in five games at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

Asked if the job would interest him, Stansfield said: “No. There’s been no contact and no approach to them.

“I feel sorry for Ash because it was a difficult job but I have a job to do at Knaresborough and it’s a project I’m building.”

Stansfield’s Town squad threw away two points on Saturday after a commanding performance at home to Glasshoughton Welfare.

Despite falling behind in the eighth minute, goals either side of the break from Toby Lees and Fraser Lancaster put Knaresborough in the box seat.

But they conceded a late goal to Jermaine Moyce to draw a third game of the season.

Stansfield said: “It’s frustrating.

“We have got nine points when we should have 15.

“We have to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch.”