THACKLEY boss Pat McGuire is keen to ensure his players don’t drift away from the game, with another footballing opportunity falling by the wayside.

The Dennyboys were due to compete in the Brighouse Town-organised Yorkshire Trophy from next week, before the news arrived that fans at their level, who bring in essential revenue, won’t be allowed into grounds until May 17.

Brighouse have rearranged the tournament for then, but Thackley need that time to repair their pitch ahead of the new season, so have pulled out, like Eccleshill United, Silsden and Steeton.

McGuire said: “We’re disappointed, because for lads at our level, they’ve now basically missed two years of football.

“They’ve got families, work and other commitments that may have taken priority but this Yorkshire Trophy gave them a way of coming back.

“We’d trained three times and had a friendly before deciding to pull out, because May 17 is basically the cut off date for when we have to stop training and have the pitch relaid.

“No one’s outlined that they’re stopping playing, but a couple have had their concerns and a couple weren’t going to play in the tournament anyway, as it’s essentially a friendly competition.

“We’re still going to do one session a week, even if it’s just a kickabout, because we want the players to enjoy themselves and see what they’ve missed.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of bosses and we’ll try to have a couple of friendlies behind closed doors just to give the lads a purpose, as it’s happened twice (a ruined season) and some will wonder what the point is any more.”

On a brighter note, and Thackley have brought talented attacking midfielder Albert Ibrahimi back to the club.

Initially the club just announced him as returning for the Yorkshire Trophy, but McGuire said: “Albert’s back for the long-term as far as we’re concerned.

“He wanted to prove himself at a higher level with Pontefract and he’s done that, but new management came in there and he was keen to come back.

“We always said we’d welcome him with open arms and we have missed him, so it’s a massive coup to have him back.

“We’re excited for what he can do next season and he scored both our goals in that 2-2 friendly draw with Golcar a few days ago.”

Asked about any other potential signings, McGuire said: “We’ll keep our ear to the ground.

“But that’s why not being in the Yorkshire Trophy any more is a shame, because we wanted to use it to see where the squad was at and network with other clubs to get an idea of who was available.

“But there’s so much uncertainty at the moment, so we’re just making sure our own house is in order, with the great bunch of lads we already have here.

“We’re not fighting too hard to add to the squad right now, and we’ll be selective over the one or two we might look to bring in over the summer.”