Bootle are getting closer to where they want to be, says manager Steve McNulty.
The Bucks were left devastated after Leek Town’s fought back from two-down as they lefft Staffordshire empty-handed.
Simon Wills and Tom Peterson had given Bootle the lead but the playoff chasers answered back and denied McNulty another famous away triumph.
Despite the defeat, he was pleased with how they matched one of the league favourites. He told Off The Park: “You go 2-0 up you’re obviously disappointed, the lads were disappointed as well and it’s good we’re disappointed because I thought we were the better side for a large portion of the game.
“They scored three quick goals, we were in control of the game then they changed shape, we spoke to the lads, some of the one-v-one defending we have to do better and stop crosses in the box.
“But overall, we’re happy, we’re making strides you can see we’re competing with the teams at the top and more than holding our own and as happy as you can be getting beat.
“Confidence is high, we’ve got some really good players in that squad that probably shouldn’t be at this level but I’ve said to the lads they need to find that level of consistency, we don’t want to lose them but they can go on and play higher up the pyramid.
“It’s all coming together, we look strong, got good options off the bench, lads are playing well at the minute and it’s really promising. Looking forward, we want to aspire to get up this team and be up there with the likes of Leek and Macclesfield are so it’s looking good at the minute.”
He continued: “After the game, I keep saying to the lads never too high, never too low you’ve got to take the wins as well as the losses we take them on the chin.
“We put in a good performance, it wasn’t like we got battered, for large parts we were the better side we just switched off, didn’t defend them properly but it’s something we’ll work on, in the past couple of weeks we’ve been defending the box and crosses really well.
“After the game, the lads were disappointed, we got back on the bus and had a laugh but confidence is high, the dressing room is really good at the minute.”
The defeat means they still remain five points off the playoffs but as time ticks on for the McNulty reign, the former Tranmere defender is happy to see things progressing – but isn’t getting carried away
“We want to make teams defend, we got Andy Owens, Tom Peterson, Nivaldo as well, good physical presence but we don’t want to start lumping it, we want to get the ball in their half and make them defend,” he added. “When we’re there we want to get down and play, get balls into the box, gets shots off, we just want to make teams defend and we’ve been doing that of late so, without getting too excited or over the top, things are coming together slowly but surely, hopefully you can see that on the pitch.”
This weekend they face Prescot Cables who sit a position above them in the Northern Premier League West.
A win would enhance their playoff ambitions and also cut their inferior goal difference which currently sits at minus three but Bootle are confident going into the game.
He said: “It’s like a local derby so it’s going to be a tough game, I keep it saying it there’s no easy games but we’ve watched them two or three times so we know what they’re about, what they’re going to bring to the party.
“We’ll be preparing ourselves right, sit down and have a gameplan, we don’t need to change much at the minute and you don’t want to get too ahead of yourself but things are going well.
“The lads are playing well, full of confidence, dressing room is really good as well, it’s going to be tough but one we’re really looking forward to.
“You need to be picking up points away home but your home form is the most important thing and if you want to do anything in this league, you’ve got to win your home games that’s what we’ll be going in and doing, trying to win our home games starting with Prescot.
“It’s important we turn our home ground into a bit of fortress and teams won’t like coming there so it’s all good at the minute.
“It’s going to be tough, like any other game, we’ll be showing them the respect they deserve but we’ll go in with a gameplan looking to win, we don’t go in to sit back.
“We go in to win the game, it’s going to be really tough, we know the management, some of the players so it’s going to be a tough game, they’ve got some really good players, we’ll be preparing right and trying to win the game.”