Bardsey await their‘biggest week’

Whitkirk v Bardsey. Robert Dickinson of Bardsey
Whitkirk v Bardsey. Robert Dickinson of Bardsey

Bardsey boss Lee Barraclough is relishing his side’s season-defining weekend as they face three crucial cup clashes in five days.

Bardsey travel to Cleethorpes-based Rimington tonight for the County Cup semi-final, with a spot in the Elland Road dressing rooms for the final up for grabs.

Last weekend’s League Cup quarter-final clash with Baildon Trinity Athletic was postponed and has been rearranged for this Saturday.

Barraclough’s men will then attempt to win their first silverware of the season against Tadcaster Magnets in the Barkston Ash Final on Easter Monday.

Barraclough has targeted a historic quadruple this season and he knows the importance of the three games.

“It is the biggest weekend of the year for us. It is make or break for our season,” he said.

“But to play three major games in five days is asking a lot. Wayne Rooney gets paid £250,000 a week and they wouldn’t expect him to do that.

“If things go wrong on Thursday and it boils on to the other games we will only have the league to play for.”

Barraclough is well aware of the threat posed by East Lancashire side Rimington but he hopes his side can continue their eight game winning streak and cause a shock.

He said: “I have had them watched twice.

“They have won their league for the last four or five years so we know they will be a good side.

“We will go into the game as underdogs which is quite new for us. But that won’t change anything. “We never go into games thinking we will win and we won’t change our game for it.

Bardsey welcome a full squad for their County Cup semi-final, stark contrast to last season when injuries ravages Barraclough’s squad.

The gaffer said: “We are fighting fit for Thursday.

“We played Ripon the game before the County Cup semi-final last year and we picked up four injuries in that game.

“So I am quite happy our match was off and everyone is available. The County Cup is the Champions League for us. These games don’t come round very often.

“We are a tiny club for the competition. We are a little village team and 90% of our players come from within two miles of Bardsey. For us to be in the semi-final for the second year running is a massive achievement.”

The incentive for the winner is a trip to the home of Leeds United and Barraclough said he has already had to rein in some of his squad’s excitement.

“It is massive,” Barraclough said. “I’ve had to tell the lads we aren’t there yet.

“But they will do for a big one for us on Thursday. We will give it as much as we have.

“They do it every week and they are proud to wear this shirt.

“We have all known each other for many years.

“There are some games when things don’t come off but as long as you put your all in you will get a 2-1 or 1-0.

“There are not many teams that can go for 95 minutes.

“It is still on at the moment but it looks a bit touch and go to me.

“They have a full-time groundsman there so hopefully he can pull it out of the bag.”

Barraclough said he may rest some of his stars for the quarter-final match at Trinity to ensure they are ready for the final test against The Magnets at Tadcaster Albion’s 2inspire Stadium.

“We will certainly give them respect,” he said of Tad. “I went to watch them against Beeston and they got beat 2-0.

“But they are a tough, hard working side. You don’t get to the final of a cup if you are not a half decent side.

“You have to give them respect or you will end up with egg on your face or a slip up.”

“Our players give 120%. “That’s no different to if we were playing Pool who are at the bottom of the league.

“You have to treat every game like it is a cup final and then you are normally involved towards the end of the season.”