DESPITE suffering defeat out on his debut as Barnoldswick Town manager, Andrew Clarkson is in positive spirits going into the festive period.

It's been a start like no other for the former Squires Gate boss.

After being appointed into the Town hotseat on November 16, Clarkson had to wait over a month, due to the second lockdown, until he could appear back in the dugout at a North West Counties League game.

Although he described being like a "kid in a sweet shop" the night before the match, his new team were dealt with a harsh lesson losing 2-1 to fourth-placed Irlam.

What made matters worse was that 10-man Barnoldswick had taken a surprise lead in the 78th minute through Zack Dale. All for two avoidable stoppage time strikes to deny them.

"It was unfortunate," said Clarkson.

"When we went 1-0 up and thought we have got a real good chance because we were playing well.

"We were disappointed because we should have cleared our lines on the first goal they scored.

"Second goal we could have closed down better too.

"So both goals could have been nullified if we had of just gave that little bit more.

"We were the better side. Their manager came to my afterwards and said 'I feel for you.'

"I was pleased with the performance but not the result. Ultimately it is all about getting the three points."

Positives can certainly be taken though for a side currently facing the wrong end of the table, only picking up three points from their seven outings thus far.

With several new players already brought in and eyes on a prolific striker, Clarkson is looking up.

He added: "I have no doubt about it that when we get that first win, points will follow.

"It is just about getting rid of that losing mentality which they have been used to in the last few months.

"I am hoping to bring in a very good striker who has played (in the leagues) above. If we can get another goalscorer I think we can climb up the table.

"Get that first three points and I am certain it will bring more points."

There's no place better to do it than at local rivals Padiham on Boxing Day.

The Barlick boss is confident he can finally get his second-bottom team up and running at the 12th-placed hosts this Saturday.

"Boxing Day is a special day in our calendar.

"In these times with the coronavirus you have got to take all the advice you can and we will only play the game if it is safe to do so.

"Padiham are a good side. We know what their manager Mozza (Michael Morrison) is all about.

"They will be hard working and in your faces.

"We have got to compete and make sure we can level that.

"Hopefully with the bit of quality we have got we can bring it through in the end."