‘I’d be more worried if we never got in those positions’ – Bootle manager Steve McNulty dismisses goalscoring concern ahead of Dunston clash

Connor Millington celebrates Bootle goal

Bootle manager Steve McNulty says it’s a ‘matter of time’ until his forwards reap the rewards in front of goal.

He has insisted his side are not overestimating Dunston UTS ahead of their FA Trophy clash on Saturday.

The Bucks were gifted progression into the next round of the competition after Grimsby Borough were forced to withdraw from the competition.

Saturday’s opponents have already overcome Bootle’s Northern Premier League West rivals in two competitions this season.

They knocked out City of Liverpool in the FA Cup before seeing off Mossley to set a date for their trip to Merseyside.

The Bucks boss is under no illusions that their cup clash this weekend will be difficult. He told Off The Park: “I always say there’s no easy games and Saturday will be no different, it’ll be a tough test.

“They’re going well in the league, had some good results, they beat Mossley in the last round and went close with a National League side in the FA Cup. It’ll be a tough test, one we’re looking forward to.

“It’s a cup game, a one-off game, they pose a really good test. They’re going well in the league, they’ve got some experienced players, some that we know as well so it’s not going to be an easy game, it’s going to be a tough game.

“But it’s one we’re going to prepare right for, we’ll give them the respect they deserve but it’s a game we’ll be going into full of confidence and hoping to win.”

It marks the first taste of cup action at the Berry Street Garage Stadium and with no Premier League action this weekend, something the Bootle manager is relishing after his welcome since taking over.

He added: “It’s been great since I come in, hopefully being no Premier League football on we’ll get a few more on the gate.

“The fans have been great since we’ve come in, they’ve got behind the team, turning up in numbers. Fingers crossed we’ll get more through the gate Saturday.”

Last week, they announced the signing of Jacques Welsh from Runcorn Linnets and have since moved to acquire Andy Scarisbrick from reigning Northern Premier League West champions.

“He’s a good player, got loads of ability, we’ve got good midfielders there at the minute but I want to have good competition for places across the pitch,” he said on the arrival of Welsh.

“That’s what we’re working on at the minute to bring a few more in so we do have good competition because when we come in everyone’s position was nailed down and I don’t want them getting too comfortable.

“It’s good if you’ve got someone breathing down your neck, it’s healthy competition, that’s what he’ll bring.

“He’s a quality player, he’s got legs, loads of ability, he can cover centre-half if needs be which is a bonus so he’s an all-round good player I’ve known him for a few years. I believe Bootle have tried to sign him a few times, just made up to get him over the line.”

Bootle were handed their first defeat since McNulty took over when Workington snatched a late winner against 10 men.

They bounced back to winning ways with a win over Witton Albion to make it three wins from four. Reflecting on the defeat to the Reds, he said: “I thought we were unlucky to come away with at least a point.

“I thought we were the better side even when we went down to 10 men, we still looked dangerous, we went in with a game plan, the lads executed it really well.

“It’s just a pity that Simon Wills has got sent off, I think if he didn’t get sent off, we’d have went on and won the game. It was disappointing that we didn’t come away with anything because I thought the lads played great and put a right shift in – especially when we went down to 10 men. 

“I thought we at least deserved a point, our shape was brilliant, they didn’t really cause us any problems, our ‘keepers only had to make one save which was late on when we were down to 10 men but I thought we were comfortable throughout the game and unlucky not to come away with anything.”

Connor Millington scored the all-important goal against Albion after Jordan Darlington cancelled out Tom Peterson’s opener.

There was some concern from the Bootle boss after they failed to make their chances count in the early exchanges.

He continued: “Going on the first-half, it should’ve been game over, we should’ve went in at half-time with the game over after the chances we had that we didn’t take.

“I said on the sideline to Carl, the assistant, just hope these missed chances don’t come back haunt us, low and behold, they score before half-time.

“Second-half, I didn’t think we got going, I thought we were sloppy in possession, too open as a team, they were probably unlucky to not come away with a point themselves on the balance of play.

“The lads dug in, put a shift in, we brought young Charlie on and a little bit of magic from him and he’s set Connor up – took his goal really well – so we’re happy to get the three points.”

Touching upon the struggles in front of goal, McNulty dismissed any fears as he reiterated he would be concerned if Bootle didn’t create at all. He revealed the efforts after training as they look to re-find their eye for goal.

He added: “There’s a lack of ruthlessness because we’re missing the chances but I’d be more worried if we weren’t getting in them position.

“It’s great that we are getting in those positions and we are creating the chances we are creating so it is massive positive.

“It’s only a matter of time before the lads do start putting those chances away. I’d be more disappointed and worried if we weren’t creating them chances. 

“We try and take them for 10 or 15 minutes after training’s finished and get them used to finding the back of the net, give them scenarios, put them in front of goal so they do get in a good habit of hitting the back of the net.

“We’ll just continue to work with them and put them in the positions that we think they’ll get in in games and keep working with them. Hopefully it’ll all come together and be two or three rather than just the one.”

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

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