West Yorkshire League: Mike Bligh returns to save rock bottom Knaresborough Town Reserves

Mike Bligh
Mike Bligh

Mike Bligh has returned as manager of Knaresborough Town Reserves, nine months after leaving the position.

Bligh has take over the reins from Chris Hirst. He will juggle his responsibilities with Harrogate Town and the Manse Lane club's survival bid in the West Yorkshire Premier League.

Hirst had originally agreed to lead the team's survival bid as temporary replacement for Simon Brooker and will assist Bligh alongside Andy Pickles.

The Reserves are bottom of the lot in the Premier Division with a six-point gap to Robin Hood Athletic.

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Bligh said: "It's an ideal opportunity. They are struggling and I hope I can go back there and give them a lift.

Bligh and assistant Andy Pickles last season

Bligh and assistant Andy Pickles last season

"It's a totally different challenge for me. I have never been in a relegation battle but I am really looking forward to it."

Bligh masterminded a ninth-placed finish for the Reserves in their first season in the Premier League after taking over from Jeff Wells midway through last season.

He left the position to take up a coaching role in Simon Weaver's backroom staff at Harrogate Town, where he is also employed as secretary.

Bligh will continue his involvement at National League North title contenders and received the backing of Weaver to take up the role at Knaresborough.

"I just missed the everyday involvement of being a manager," he said.

"It's all right coaching but there's nothing like managing and dealing with certain issues and player recruitment.

"I spoke to Simon and is fully supportive as I thought he would be. He understands it's difficult not to be coaching week in week out."

Knaresborough's bid for a great escape has seen them take two points against top five clubs in their last two league fixtures.

A 3-3 draw at Leeds City was followed by a 2-2 draw against title hopefuls Carlton Athletic and Bligh believes those results show the club have what it takes to beat the drop.

"They have got the players in there that have the quality. They're just missing one or two experience heads.

"If we can keep building on those last two results we can do it. They show the players have got the determination and character to keep going until the end.

"I can't believe they haven't carried on from where we were last year, but that's the position we are in."