Garstang’s squad size matters to manager Baker

Garstang's scheduled match against Tempest United was called off last weekend
Garstang's scheduled match against Tempest United was called off last weekend
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Garstang manager Lee Baker believes his side is reaping the rewards of their bigger squad this season.

The Riversiders presently sit second in the West Lancashire League Premier Division and also have a Lancashire Shield semi-final looming in a fortnight’s time.

It hasn’t been a case this season of Baker having to name his strongest XI and then stick with it.

Instead, he has been able to rotate where required and has seen some of his fringe players stand up and be counted.

“Myself and Neil (Beesley, Garstang assistant manager) were going on about it a couple of weeks ago,” Baker said.

“It was only the game against Tempest United the other Saturday where we could say we had a few players back.

“The six games before that one were ones where we din’t have everyone available.

“We had four missing one week, then we had six missing the following week but we were still confident.

“We weren’t worried at all which we could have been in the past.”

Last week’s poor weather meant the Riversiders had another Saturday off when they should have been at Tempest United for the second part of their double header.

They are back in action on Saturday against an Euxton Villa side sitting third in the table and against whom they drew 1-1 earlier in the season.

For good measure, it will be the first of two games against Villa in a week-and-a-half as they meet them in the Lancashire Shield on February 7.

The free Saturday also gave Tom Entwistle some extra time to recover from the illness which had forced him off against Tempest United a week earlier.

“Tom said he hadn’t been feeling good and was struggling with stomach cramps,” Baker said.

“It comes back to having a squad; someone else was able to take his place and we got through it.”