Returning Rose has seven games to keep Frickley up

Karl Rose.
Karl Rose.

Karl Rose has started work on his bid to keep Frickley Athletic up after he surprisingly returned to the club this week following the sacking of manager Lee Morris.

Rose’s return as manager, with Lee Stratford as his assistant, comes with the Blues sliding back into the relegation places following a run of four successive defeats.

A 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Halesowen Town left Athletic fourth from bottom on 39 points, behind Corby Town on goal difference, three behind Halesowen, who have played three fewer games, and four behind Marine.

Rose has seven matches to try to turn things round with maybe four wins needed to ensure the Blues’ survival in the league’s top flight.

He has done it before with some great escapes during a four-year spell in charge of Frickley and he started the season in charge of the team only to resign after a poor start to the campaign saw them lose their opening five matches.

Former Frickley player and fans favourite Morris was chosen to replace Rose back in September and he brought about a change of fortunes initially with the team enjoying some terrific wins to edge closer to safety. But a poor recent run has seen the Blues drop back into trouble and he has left the club after seven months in charge.

A statement put out by the club on Monday read: “We’d like to thank Lee and his staff for their hard work during their time with club and wish them well in the future.

“The club are urging everyone to get behind the new management team over the next seven games as we aim to move out of the bottom four.”

Rose’s first game back in charge this Saturday sees Frickley away to second from bottom Ilkeston FC (kick-off 3pm). A second match quickly follows with the Blues away to ninth-placed Buxton next Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm).

What turned out to be the last game for Morris as manager saw Athletic lose tamely 1-0 to Halesowen at Westfield Lane last Saturday.

With plenty at stake in what was billed as a must-win game the players appeared nervous and did not relax into their game.

Chances that were made, particularly in the first half, were snatched at and although Adam Priestley carried a threat when running at the defence he did not get the run of the ball on several occasions.

There was no lack of effort, but the application was missing at times. They were unlucky not to scrape a point, however, when the one real bit of quality came from a delicious Gary Stohrer cross, which led to Adam Priestley hitting the post with a header.

Halesowen took away all three points after Daniel Bragoli came up with the only goal of the game in the 66th minute from what looked a training ground exercise.

Frickley, meanwhile, have extended the loan of Adam Priestley for another month and have re-signed Jake Picton from Gainsborough Trinity.

South Elmsall lad Picton first joined Frickley in August 2012 from Harrogate Town. He originally signed as a central defender but also played in midfield and attack before moving to Gainsborough in 2014.

In his first season he was the supporters’ player of the year. He was a junior at Scunthorpe United before moving on to Ilkeston FC and then Harrogate Town.