Silsden pair set to stay at helm for rest of campaign

Keighley News: Andy Geary is back at Silsden Andy Geary is back at Silsden

Interim management pair Andy Geary and Paul Schofield intend to consolidate Silsden’s position in the top flight until the end of the season – and, if successful, then decide if they want the job on a full-time basis.

The duo have taken charge of the Cobbydalers after Chris Reape stepped down from the helm before Christmas.

Silsden turned to the pair, who are both former managers at the club, after a seven-game losing streak saw them slip down to 16th in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

And Geary – who takes on the number one role with Schofield as his assistant – is relishing the challenge at the club he took from the Craven League to the non-league pyramid in a successful ten-year stint.

He said: “Initially it is a temporary role and then we will review the situation at the end of the season.

“The club and Chris have parted by mutual consent, with the club wanting a new direction and hopefully me and Paul can give them that.

“We first need to consolidate and aim for a mid-table finish. If we can do that, we’ll then both see how we feel about it.”

Geary (pictured) had a brief spell at Barnoldswick Town after stepping down from the Silsden job in 2006 but has otherwise dropped out of management at senior level, while Schofield – who was replaced by Reape in November 2009 – works as a scout for Blackburn Rovers and is in charge of one of their junior sides.

The new regime have so far been stalled by the wet weather, with both the Boxing Day derby against Colne and last Saturday’s clash at Barnoldswick being washed out. It has meant they have had little chance to assess their resources, having had just one training session prior to the new year.

Geary said: “We need to get a game under our belts to find out where we are. We have targeted areas we think we might need to strengthen, though on the whole there are some very good players here.

“But we’ve been pulling our hair out trying to keep things ticking over with the bad weather.”

Geary said he was confident of holding on to the majority of the current squad, though winger Andy Lee has already left to join neighbours Barlick.

The new chief is keen to add to his squad and did not rule out turning to some of the players who used to feature under him – though he admitted fitness could be an issue.

He said: “Most of them are in their mid-thirties now and not being playing. It’s one thing coming straight back at Craven or County Amateur level but it’s a step up at this level.”

One area Geary is keen to utilise is the club’s thriving youth section. He said: “There is a very good squad of players from under-17s to under-19s. If we can consolidate in mid-table then it might be a good time to play some of the young lads and give them a chance. The club has a very large junior section and hopefully we can look to bring them through.”

Weather permitting, Geary and Schofield are poised to make their bow this Saturday when they host leaders Maine Road.

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