It’s Town and out for Cairns
MANAGER Chris Herbert has this week revealed Runcorn Town forward Craig Cairns left the club after being offered better terms by City of Liverpool FC.
Prolific marksman Cairns scored 96 goals in 83 appearances for Town – 44 coming last season as the club finished third in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division – but will face off against his former club in the same division in the forthcoming campaign.
“We knew for a bit he might move on,” Herbert admitted.
“I’m surprised it’s in our league but that’s the money on offer.
“City of Liverpool are really going for it with the signings they’re making and you can’t get better than Craig Cairns in this league. It’s a great signing for them but it’s also going to be a big challenge for us. Craig’s been a brilliant servant and helped get us to where we are now.”
Joe Holt is another swapping the Pavilions outfit for the Purples, while Keiran Evans, Aidy Roxburgh and Aaron Hassall are also leaving the club.
Herbert did confirm, however, that the club had swooped for indemand Chester teenager Ryan Dobson.
“He’s a very good player and a lot of clubs were after him,” the Town boss said.
“He wants to play week in week out because he wants to progress and he will progress because he plays beyond his age.
“He’s only 18 but he plays well above that in his level. He captained Chester’s youth team to a record league and cup double last season so he’s a very good signing for us. Players come and go. It’s part and parcel of football. Now that Craig’s gone we have to ● replace him too and hopefully we’ll have that player in by the weekend.”
This week goalkeeper Adam Reid, captain Simon Thelwell, player of the season Marcus James and Danny Jarrett all agreed to continue with Runcorn Town next season.
Liam Turner, Michael Carberry, Paul McManus, Kevin Exell and Mark Reed will also remain at Pavilions.
Commenting on keeping his rearguard together, Herbert said: “It took time to get the defence right last season but we feel we have got it to how we want to be now and it’s great to keep these lads together.
“Towards the back end of the season we looked very solid and that was the reason for our strong end to the season.
“Reidy was a revelation when he came in. He has won this league before, his experience is invaluable and he hardly put a foot wrong for us last season so it’s great to keep him with us.
“Simon Thelwell is influential to this team, he is a leader on and off the pitch and it was very important we nailed him down early.
“Marcus James and Liam Turner didn’t win accolades at the end of the season for nothing and they both put in solid seven or eight out of 10 performances week in, week out.
“You can always rely on them to do everything asked of them and it’s very rare they are overrun by anyone. In Michael Carberry we have in my opinion the best young left-back in the league and it’s easy to forget he is that young given his performances.
“And with Danny Jarrett always pushing them hard it will be great to build on last season and go that step further now.
“We are looking to add a striker who we are currently talking to who would make a big difference to us aswell as three or four new faces who are all coming in to improve us. It’s all about progression. Obviously we will lose a few players along the way but that is football unfortunately, but we will replace quality with quality when that happens. Our aim is promotion so there is no messing about from us on the management team when it comes to getting it right on the pitch. We have been involved in the game long enough and know what needs to be done to improve on last season’s third place finish.
And commenting about retaining the trio of McManus, Exell and Reed, Herbert added: “It’s good to make sure we get the spine of the team sorted out early.
“Paul McManus had a superb second half of the season and was right at it every game. He is a proper footballer with good football brain, and when he is on form he really does make us tick.
“Kevin Exell is all about energy but had a stop start season last season with a few niggling injuries. People forget how young he is and if we can get him a good pre-season, he will be back to his best and giving us that high energy further up the pitch.
“Mark Reed was outstanding for us last season.
“He gives us that calmness around the changing rooms and on the pitch. His eye for goal is never in question and he is vital to us with his experience bringing the younger lads on and if we are to do anything this season Reedy will be a major factor in it.
“Things are starting to take shape now. We have a few new faces coming in and will be announced later this week/weekend and we have a few others on our radar. It is going to be an exciting season for us at Runcorn Town.”
Herbert says that he expects most of his remaining players to commit their immediate future to the club, but it is understood that City of Liverpool are in talks with one other unnamed Town player. ● Runcorn Town’s U17 team will be holding an open training session this evening and are inviting anybody interested in joining the squad to come along. The team will be playing in the Warrington U17 League next season, as well as entering both the FA Youth Cup for the very first time and the Cheshire Youth Cup. The session is from 6pm to 7pm at The Heath Playing Fields in Runcorn. WIDNES will be hoping to avoid equalling an unwanted record when they visit Salford Red Devils this evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Following last Saturday’s 32-12 loss to Catalans in Perpignan, the Vikings have now lost nine consecutive games in the Betfred Super League.
The club’s all-time record run of league defeats was 10 which occurred way back in the 1950/51 season. The Red Devils are on a bit of a losing trot of their own having been downed in their last five league games so something has to give at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Widnes’s interim head coach Francis Cummins wants his players concentrating on the task in hand and despite having very limited preparation time this week, he is expecting to see improvements especially in the number of errors his side make.
He said: “I’m sure some people will be looking at this game as do-or-die, but that’s not the situation. While there will be some emotion out there, we have to make sure we keep that emotion under control and get better at executing the little things. We need our players to execute their skills in the way they show they’re capable of every day in training and not let other people’s perception of the occasion affect them.
“We’re trying hard for each other but you’ve got to have the quality and we’ve not really delivered that. There’s a lot of frustration but we’re looking at a few areas where we just need to be more efficient.
“We haven’t got a lot of time this week to work on stuff but there’s nothing like a game coming on Thursday to challenge yourself with. We’ve got to be better on Thursday because we’re hurting each other. It’s just about doing it the easy way.”
There may well be a couple of familiar faces in the opposition ranks tonight with both centre Ed Chamberlain and prop-forward Greg Burke named in the Red Devils’ squad having signed on loan from the Vikings just a couple of weeks ago.
Similarly, Widnes have named Weller Hauraki in their 19 who is on loan from the Red Devils. Hauraki made his Widnes debut against Catalans at the weekend.
Cummins isn’t concerning himself too much with who lines-up for Salford.
He just wants 80 minutes of total concentration from his team to help get them the confidenceboosting win they need.
He added: “It’s not really about knowing the opposition, it’s just about playing well. We know about Salford but we also need to be ready for anything they change. You can’t have a moment off and that’s what we’re doing at the moment and it’s hurting us.”
Skipper Chris Houston returns to the squad after injury and is joined by experienced prop forward Alex Gerrard. Academy product Dan Norman also comes in. Brad Walker, Sam Wilde and Macgraff Leuluai drop out from the squad named before the game in France.
Striker Craig Cairns – celebrating yet another goal last season – has left Runcorn Town for City of Liverpool FC