‘Pulling my hair out’ – Steve McNulty itching after Bootle layoff ahead of 1874 Northwich return

Bootle striker Ben Hodkinson celebrates

Bootle manager Steve McNulty is itching for his side to return to action as they travel to 1874 Northwich this weekend.

The Bucks have been out of action since their 2-2 draw with Widnes and by the time they head to Paul Bowyer and Wayne Goodison’s side.

Playoffs are still firmly within reach for McNulty’s side as they sit within nine points of Mossley – who occupy the all-important playoff place.

McNulty, and his assistant manager Carl Macauley, are edging towards the five-month mark since the former Tranmere Rovers defender was installed in the Bucks dugout.

“It’s been good, we first come in we wanted to change a few things, get a few players out, get some in,” he told Off The Park reflecting on the opening months in charge. “We’ve got a few in, let a few go but all in all, we’re happy with the progress, we know it’s going to take a bit more time to stamp more down what we want to do, we’re doing it slowly but surely, you can’t just come in and make massive changes. In the short space of time, we’ve got to do it slowly but surely.

“Tough mate, pulling my hair out, we’re on a decent run, lost one in 10 so it’s tough, you want to keep playing games, churning them out and keep pushing up the table,” he added on the three-week layoff without playing competitive football.

“It’s just faltered us, no game in over 17 days it’s tough but it’s the same for most clubs. We’ve got to get back into training, prepare ourselves right for Saturday.”

Due to the current league standings, it remains tight from the playoffs to the foot of the table. Currently, six points separate Bootle and Skelmersdale United – who sit inside the bottom four.

“Take each game as it comes, we’d like to be up there in the playoffs but obviously we’re not,” he continued. “You’ve got to have aims and ambitions for the season, we just don’t want to sit mid-table and let the season peter out.

“We keep banging the drum about playoffs but we want to finish up the table as high as we can, if it’s in the playoffs great, if it’s just outside great.

“It is what it is, we’re in a transformation phase, we took the job three months into the season, took our time to stamp our authority on the team and squad, we’ve got to have aims and ambitions, I keep banging the drum to the players, keep driving them on to push us close and to get into them playoffs as much as they can.”

They host 1874 Northwich this weekend who have had an indifferent start to 2023 after beating City of Liverpool before slipping to defeat to their rivals Prescot Cables.

Bootle ran out 2-0 winners in the reverse fixture and McNulty is expecting another difficult contest. He concluded: “We played them not so long ago, we know it’s going to be another tough game, they’ve got good players, we had a good result against them at home.

“It’s another tough game but one we’re going into full of confidence, we’ll prepare right, Carl will do a report and we’ll work on a few things which can be exploited. We’re looking to get the three points.”

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

For enquiries: info@off-the-park.co.uk@OffThePark_