West Yorkshire League: Knaresborough Town Reserves eye Whitworth Cup glory

NAKP 1501242AM2 K'boro Town res. V Ripon City. (1501242AM2)
NAKP 1501242AM2 K'boro Town res. V Ripon City. (1501242AM2)

Knaresborough Town Reserves manager Mike Bligh believes his side won’t get a better opportunity to clinch the Whitworth Cup ahead of Tuesday’s final.

Bligh’s side face Kirk Deighton Rangers who sit third in the Harrogate and District Football League Premier Division, nine points off the leaders with two games in hand.

Despite admitting his side were the underdogs heading into the final, Dan Marshall’s Rangers team have already beaten a West Yorkshire League side to reach the final two of the competition.

Rangers overcame Alistair Hogg’s Ripon City 4-3 at Mallorie Park in a thrilling semi-final in November and Bligh is not underestimating the ability of his opposition.

He said: “Rangers are no mugs, they have done well this year in their league so we have got to be careful but the players know their jobs and will go about it in the right way.

“We have thought long about the Whitworth Cup because it’s nice to be involved in another final but the lads need to relax and play their best football in the right environment.”

Tuesday’s clash will be just the first final Mike Bligh’s side contest this month with the League Cup showdown against Leeds City confirmed for Saturday, Aril 30.

Bligh admitted his side were ‘more or less done and dusted’ in the league this season after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Horbury Town and cast his attention on silverwear.

However, Bligh said he will manage the remaining seven league fixtures to rotate the squad, providing academy players the chance to prove themselves for next season.

He said: “It was good on Saturdays because we gave some of the younger lads some experience and we have got to look at these players to see if they can handle themselves in the West Yorkshire League.

“This period of the season is always a good time to have a look at the younger lads because they are the future. There is always someone younger wanting to take your place.

“We are seeing if they’re better than what we have got or can we put them in the right group. We have got to throw them in and my squad is well aware of that and they are right behind it.”

Bligh’s rotation policy will come in useful for his side’s busy April period, starting with Wednesday’s clash against Leeds City before a derby against struggling Boroughbridge on Saturday.

“Saturday’s a tough one because we want Boroughbridge to stay in the league because you can’t beat these derbies. But it’s three points and at the end of the day we want to get them,” Bligh said