‘They’re the benchmark’ – Bootle manager Steve McNulty makes Macclesfield admission ahead of clash

Bootle equalise against Runcorn Linnets through Simon Wills

Bootle manager Steve McNulty has discussed his sides chances as they travel to Northern Premier League West league leaders Macclesfield.

The Silkmen have been in formidable form since their promotion to the Northern Premier League.

Despite their loss away at Witton Albion, they have bounced back from that disappointment with a vengeance, scoring 15 goals in three games.

The Bucks were in action following their blip against Dunston UTS as they travelled to Runcorn Linnets on Tuesday – playing out a 1-1 draw.

But for the Bootle manager, he is under no illusions it’ll be a tough game but insists they won’t shy away from the task in front of them.

He told Off The Park: “It’s going to be a tough game, it’s going to be tough. If you look at the results they’re the benchmark in the league so it’ll be good to put ourselves against them and see exactly where we are.

“It’s going to be a good test for the lads, for us, one we’re looking forward to and one we’ll be looking to get a result.

“We’ll be going to win the game and get three points, every team I’ve played for, I’ve never sat back or invited pressure onto themselves.

“From day one, I’ve said to the lads we have to play with an arrogance, belief and think we can win every game – that’s the message we’ll be putting across to them.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in front of you, it’s only 11 men, we’ll be going there full of belief and full of confidence, we’ll be giving it our best.”

Bucks will be travelling in their numbers as they make the trip to the Leasing.com Stadium. Macclesfield boast an average attendance of over 3000, but the visitors will be vocal on Saturday as two full coaches will be making the trip from Vesty Road to Cheshire.

McNulty hopes it’ll be a great game and has praised the supporters for their efforts in making the trip down the M62.

“That’s what we want, we want them to go enjoy it, express themselves, play with confidence,” he added. “That’s what I’ve tried to instil into them, we’ll carry on drumming it into them. We’ve had great support no matter where we’ve gone, even at home.

“I don’t think Saturday will be any different, we’ll be taking down a few fans with us, they’ll have a load as well, it’s a great game for everyone connected to Bootle.”

Simon Wills scored his first goal of the season in Tuesday’s draw with Linnets cancelling out Tom Moore’s opener.

Dave Wild’s side were reduced to 10-men after James Short was shown a straight red shortly after the restart.

Whilst the Bucks boss was disappointed with failing to make their man advantage count, he was pleased with a point at the APEC Taxis Stadium.

He continued: “It’s a good point away from home, they went down to 10 men, disappointed when teams go down to 10 men that you didn’t get the three points but if someone would’ve offered me a point before the game, we’d have taken it, they’re not a bad side.”

Analysing the draw with Linnets, McNulty was forced to hold his hands up for making a mistake in how his side set up in the first-half.

He explained: “I thought that first-half, we struggled, the shape I set up just didn’t work at all, we tried four in midfield in a diamond and their full-backs were getting too much time and space out wide so I had to sacrifice Connor in the second-half.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to hold your hands up and I thought that the shape looked a bit better in the second-half even though they weren’t down to 10 men.

“You’re always learning, being an assistant at Chester you make the decision with the manager but the book stops at me now because I’m the manager. Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up as a manager, went for a diamond and it just didn’t work.”

However, the former Tranmere Rovers defender was pleased with the response from their FA Trophy exit, days earlier. He continued: “Take Saturday out of the equation, you can’t fault their effort and the battle, working hard as well.

“I think Saturday was a bit of a blip, it wasn’t us, it wasn’t the way we wanted to play or the way we want them to play. If you speak to the lads, they’ll be disappointed with the result themselves. Put that one in the bin and move on.

“There had to be [a reaction]. I don’t think you could get much worse than Saturday, we give a few lads that we haven’t seen different opportunities to look at a few things, it didn’t work out but you live and learn.

“We’ll be moving on, it’s only fair everyone gets a chance, I’m new into the club so it’s only fair everyone gets a chance and we have a look at them all.”

However, the Bootle boss remained quiet over potential incomings at the Berry Street Garage Stadium and explained the current squad situation.

“I think every manager up and down the league, you’re always looking and if you do get offered and you can improve the squad it’s only right to do that.

“It’s not about me, the players at Bootle Football Club, it’s about trying to get them up the league’s and get the best bunch of players we can. There’s nothing immediate but if you get offered of see something that will improve your squad, we will look at it. 

“We don’t carry a massive squad, we had 16 there [against Runcorn Linnets], there was two left out the squad so that’s only 18 that we’re carrying. You’ve got to be careful you don’t start letting people go, at the end of the day, they’re all there for a reason, they’re all in the squad and fighting for their starting place in the team.”

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

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