Joe Thornton has a “great brain” and has been a major reason behind Worsbrough Bridge’s upturn in form, according to Lee Morris.
Bridge endured a difficult start to the Toolstation NCEL Division One campaign, but results have improved since the Shaw Lane Aquaforce legend arrived from Handsworth and Morris claims the versatile player has been inspirational.
Thornton, who has enjoyed a glittering and glory-laden Non League career, missed the defeat to Brigg Town on Saturday.
He is expected to be back for Worsbrough’s fixture congested week which sees them host Rossington Main on Wednesday and then visit heavily injury-stricken Nostell Miners Welfare on Friday night.
“Since Joe has come he has been absolutely fantastic, in the dressing room, out of the dressing room, on the pitch,” Morris told Non League Yorkshire.
“He was a major miss for us on Saturday (in the 3-0 defeat to Brigg Town) because of his experience.
“He could have made a real difference for us. It is his voice, his talking and his organisational skills at the back is what we missed.
“We were solid at Hall Road, solid at Harrogate when he has played at the back.
“You don’t realise how much of a miss he is until he’s not here.
“He has a great brain. It is funny because I’ve been in dressing rooms with him and shook my head at him, but he has a footballing brain and he is very experienced.
“He’s come as a left-back, but he’s been playing as a right-back. You never know, later in the season me and him might have a trip up top to see if we can relive the Shaw Lane days.”
Recent results have got Worsbrough’s season back on track. The club’s summer literature said the plan was to be in the top ten, but after eight games they were second bottom.
Now after two wins (against Harrogate Railway and Hall Road Rangers) out of four league games, Bridge are only four points off tenth and Morris believes his side will slowly move up the table.
“I said to the lads on Saturday that it was a good opportunity to get closer to the top ten,” he said.
“This league is throwing up random results up all over the place. I think it is going to be one of those seasons.
“It hasn’t gone to plan like you say, but if we had won on Saturday we’d have gone closer to the top ten.
“Up until the Harrogate Railway game, was I concerned? I wasn’t really because I knew we had the quality to push up the league and I still think we have.
“We just need to get our team consistently, rather than having to swap and change three or four players for every game.
“We haven’t had a settled side. That’s because of injuries, people being away. The other week when we played Glasshoughton, we didn’t even have the goalkeeper Dan Morton so Joe had to go in the net.
“We then had to move three or four players around, whilst losing a key outfield player. Things aren’t falling for us at the moment, but we have to be patient.”
Six points this week would be a fantastic return and probably propel them into the top ten.
However, it will be extremely difficult because of two games in three days – a situation that Morris admits will stretch his squad.
“It is bad timing,” he said.
“In pre-season we got offered a Friday night fixture with Nostell and it is good revenue for both clubs because they’re also coming to us on a Friday night.
“But I didn’t expect us to be playing Wednesday night then Friday night. We only have a small squad of 16/17.
“One or two injuries on Wednesday night and that rules them out for Friday night. There may be players who physically cannot play two fixtures in three days. Not everyone is a spring chicken.
“We’re certainly going to have use our squad on Wednesday.”
Morris also insisted that he would not change his side’s style of play. At times, Worsbrough have played in a Kevin Keegan-style way – scoring five, but conceding six.
“Now the pitches are getting like they are we may have,” he added.
“But you see so many teams who just lump it and it is not my style of management.
“I’d rather not play that way. I’d probably only change the way we play is mid-game if we really needed to.
“Once you start changing the philosophy the players will lose faith in what we do. We won’t change the way we play. Maybe in some games we might have to, depending on the weather or the score, but we’re sticking to your philosophy.”