THACKLEY boss Pat McGuire is delighted to have one of his best friends patrolling the midfield for him again, and says his experience can only benefit the club's young talents.

Mark Trueman, who is also Bradford City's Under-18s coach, has re-signed from Silsden, and can expect to find himself in the first team for the Dennyboys' away clash with Garforth Town in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division today.

McGuire laughed: "I'm sick of him really.

"But on a serious note, we lacked experience and a voice in that midfield. He brings some understanding to the team. He's a lot calmer than some of the younger lads and he just makes us tick.

"He'll bring the best out of our young midfielders, like Seb Scaroni, and his presence allows us to push Ben Grech-Brooksbank further forward (who has scored in each of the last two games).

"We've got a lot of talented footballers here, but they've not had the upbringing that Mark and I had at professional clubs.

"Sometimes we can be a bit too honest and naive at Thackley, and instead of being more compact and managing games that we're winning, we'll try and play high-tempo attacking football for the full 90 minutes.

"Having Mark will be good for us on that front. He'll help the young lads on and off the pitch.

"His schedule with his job at City is better than it was before too, which is good because I don't like having it where the players can miss training all week then still play in the matches on a Saturday."

Trueman has just come in, but young striker Ray Sibanda has departed. He joined Albion Sports last Saturday.

Explaining that one, McGuire said: "Ray's been with us for a few years, but we've got quite a big squad now.

"I always say the lads need to fight for their place but Ray wasn't getting in the side. He's about 23 now and at his age, he needs to be playing regularly.

"Hopefully he gets that at Albion."

Back to the players McGuire still has at his disposal, and he has to prepare them for a tough game at Garforth today.

Analysing Thackley's opponents, McGuire said: "Garforth have had a couple of bad games in a row, but in this league, everyone can beat each other. The successful ones are those who can put good runs together.

"Garforth are a good side, under their manager Paul Marshall.

"I respect him a lot, and he was at our game on Wednesday night at Yorkshire Amateur, so he'll have had a good look at us and put plans in place.

"They've got some good players too. They've brought (young midfielder) Sam Barker back and he's a big player for them, who I really like."

Thackley will be hoping to break a bad spell on the pitch today themselves. They sit third bottom of the table with just four points from their opening seven games.

But it is not for the want of trying, with McGuire saying: "I'm baffled by the Handsworth game (a 3-2 defeat) last weekend.

"I thought we controlled it for long spells, against a good side too, and how we were 2-1 down with five minutes left I don't know.

"We equalised and thought we could go on to win it, so to concede the winner two minutes later was sickening.

"We gave it a right go at Yorkshire Amateur in midweek too. We had a plan and were ballsy, so it was disappointing to come in 2-1 down at half-time after conceding two avoidable goals just before the break.

"We could have been 3-0 up instead, as we'd missed two clearcut headers.

"Then, with the score at 2-1 to them with five minutes left, the ref gave a corner that no-one else in the ground thought was a corner, and they scored from it, so it's frustrating."

McGuire added: "Nothing's going for us on or off the pitch. The other day we had a player who was told to self-isolate by track and trace on the day of the game, and we had another lad who fell ill hours before.

"It's meant us having to shoehorn some players into positions they're not overly comfortably in."

In today's other games, Liversedge will look to make it six wins from six with victory at Goole, while Eccleshill United will fancy their chances of picking up points at struggling Bottesford Town.

Down in Division One, Campion face a tough ask to maintain their 100 per cent record, as they host fellow high-flyers North Ferriby.

In the Northern Premier League North West Division, Brighouse Town have got a home game against Pontefract Collieries. They will be looking to win that to move off the foot of the table.

Finally, Steeton are in action at AFC Liverpool in the North West Counties League First Division North.