It’s Town and out for Cairns

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Sport - BY SAM CAR­ROLL sam­car­rol­le­cho@gmail.com @SamCar­roll0

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.

Paul Wat­son

Striker Craig Cairns – cel­e­brat­ing yet an­other goal last sea­son – has left Run­corn Town for City of Liver­pool FC

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