THE timing of Saturday’s postponement at Atherton Collieries could not have been more perfect for Radcliffe FC boss Jon Macken.

After bad weather put paid to the fixture, new signing Tom Eckersley was given an extra week to bed in, while Macken and his coaches seized on the chance to spend time on the training pitch.

His aim was to fine tune rather than overhaul a side that has put in a series of improving performances but struggled to turn draws into wins as they remain fourth-bottom in Evo-Stik North.

Now he is looking for the extra preparation time to pay off, with back-to-back games against Clitheroe, at home in the league on Saturday before Tuesday night’s away tie in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy quarter-final.

“So many times, new players end up being thrown in at the deep end, sometimes making their debut less than 24 hours after signing, so it has been great for Tom to be able to get to know his team-mates,” said Macken of the 25-year-old former Bolton Wanderers academy centre-back.

“I am confident he is going to be a big signing for us in terms of his knowledge, experience and leadership.

“He has been able to have a good few training sessions, see where we are at, what we need and how he can help us improve.”

Boro’s record under Macken has been good, if not spectacular, with the former Preston striker stopping a run of defeats on his arrival at the club but they have drawn four of their last five league games.

He added: “The work on the training ground has been about how we cut out the mistakes, and tighten up in the latter stages of games, so we can stop conceding late goals and turn these draws into victories.

“We have been encouraged by performances, but have not picked up the results we need to start moving up the table.

“It’s testament to the lads’ attitude that they view these draws as dropped points and I think Tom could be the missing ingredient we need.”