Tigers boss. Phil Barnes. Photo by KEN SMITH

Barnes closing in on Sutton star Clitheroe as Holbeach United get rare weekend off

Phil Barnes has spoken to Long Sutton Athletic striker Jake Clitheroe about bringing him back to Holbeach United.

The prolific frontman enjoyed a great spell with the Tigers during Tom Roberts’ spell as boss, but has spent the past few seasons playing in the ChromaSport PDFL.

Holbeach slapped in a seven-day notice of approach for Clitheroe last week and Barnes was able to speak to him on Tuesday and remains hopeful of completing a deal.

Given that striker Jonny Lockie is facing six weeks on the sidelines after injuring ankle ligaments in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Desborough, the Tigers are in urgent need of more firepower.

“I’m hopeful on Jake,” said Barnes. “He’s a player we really like and it’d be good to bring him back.

“I’ve been looking for a new striker for a while, but it’s even more important that we get somebody in now Jonny is out for up to six weeks.

“Let’s see what happens, I hope we can get the deal done.”

With 12th-placed Holbeach now without a game until hosting Sleaford Town on Wednesday night (7.45pm), Barnes is hopeful that the mini-break will give his squad time to recover from niggly injuries.

He also took the time to reflect on the first month of the Uhlsport UCL Premier Division season, insisting that a top six finish remains that aim despite a shaky start.

The Tigers have won two, drawn two and lost two of their six league games so far, but are already out of both the Emirates FA Cup and Buildbase FA Vase.

Barnes added: “I said to the lads on Saturday that we’ve done pretty well in all of our league games so far and have deserved more than we’ve got.

“Obviously we’re disappointed to be out of the cups – and performances weren’t quite as good there.

“But I’m happy enough with how things are going.

We can certainly still aim to be finishing in that top six, I’ve not seen any reason to change my expectations.

“I’m very happy with the squad, although you’re always looking for more players. If we could get another midfielder in, that would probably be a good move to make.”

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