What Ste Daley and Mick McGraa have said as Prescot Cables host Bootle in Northern Premier League playoff semi-final

Prescot Cables vs Bootle

Prescot Cables are looking to reach their first Northern Premier League playoff final since 2018 while Bootle could earn promotion to step three for the first time in their history.

You would be hard-pressed to find someone outside of the Joseph Russell Stadium who felt the Bulls would be in this position, last August. Ste Daley’s side have been formidable this season and worthy playoff contenders but for them, the hard work starts now.

The turnaround since 2022 cannot be overstated, from joining as assistant manager and watching the dismal defeat at home to City of Liverpool to being within at least 90 minutes of the Premier Division.

Bamber Bridge broke the hearts of Brian Richardson’s side as they lost 1-0 in the playoff final six years ago. Only the hardened Cables faithful would remember the last time they played in Step Three, 15 years ago – when their five-year stint came to an end.

Bootle find themselves in a similar situation. Far too many times have there been false dawns for the Bucks with new managers coming in, prospects looking light before their ambitions go up in smoke.

Mick McGraa took over a threadbare side in October and had to bolster the squad in different ways. After scoring his 100th goal for the club in December, Tom Peterson told Off The Park that they could feel the playoffs getting closer and this season was the ideal opportunity to join Leek Town in the Northern Premier League.

For most of the season, the Bucks have been an away side and their 1-0 win over Hednesford Town ensured that they finished the campaign with the best record on the road – winning 11, drawing four and losing four.

Prescot Cables have twice got the better of Bootle this season, once in the league and once in the Liverpool Senior Cup, with their corresponding fixture ending goalless – despite the Bucks being reduced to 10 men in the first-half after Owen Mooney’s red card.

While Bootle have the best away record, Cables are the third best side at home. The form book and statistics go out of the window in playoff matches but this playoff semi-final is too close to call.

‘We can beat anyone’ – Ste Daley calls for calm as Prescot Cables look to overcome rivals Bootle

Ste Daley has tipped Prescot Cables to continue surpassing the challenges put in front of them ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Bootle.

Daley told Off The Park: “I think it’s going to be a great game, playoffs anything can happen. The games that have gone before, go out of the window, there will be a massive crowd and I think whoever can deal with the pressure will come through and win the game.

“In these sorts of games, let’s hope it’s a bit of brilliance that wins the game and not mistakes but it can happen. Two teams going into it in good form, they both want it just as much as each other. One thing we know, it doesn’t matter who we play, if we’re at our strongest we can beat anyone. We have to make sure we concentrate on ourselves, do everything correct and impose ourselves with the things we’re good at.

“They’re a very good team, there isn’t much in the league position (between the two sides), we know we have to turn up and we’re at it. They’ll know the same, if one team drops their level, they will be found out. Bootle pose different threats but if we impose ourselves right, I believe we have the answers.”

The Cables boss admitted that for much of the season, it has been reiterated that they are in unchartered territory but his side have continuously defied expectations. He says they have to keep believing, adding: “People keep reminding that we’ve never been expected to be here but the lads have had challenges and for me, they’ve come through every single one.

“It’s important you remember in football to play the game and not the occasion, there will be nerves – that’s natural – but we’re excited.

“Every challenge we’ve gone into, we’ve gone into it with a smile, we’ve knuckled down and to do things our way, so far it’s stood us in good stead. We need to keep believing, keep doing what we’re good at and what will be will be.”

Mick McGraa gives Bootle verdict ahead of playoff semi-final

Mick McGraa is confident that he can lead Bootle to within 90 minutes of a historic promotion.

He told Off The Park: “It’s going to be tough, they beat us twice there this year, they were both close games and we had chances at 0-0. We haven’t taken them and been punished, it’ll be a tight game, I think it’ll be a cagey game with both teams not wanting to give anything away so expecting it to be a tight one.

“We’re more suited away from home with how we set up, I think Saturday’s win typified everything that we do away from home and we will be looking to try to counter them on the break but we have to be ruthless, if you’re not, you won’t win the game.

“We’ve tried to mix it up with what we’ve got, we’ve brought in big players who can produce at big times so hopefully they can do the same and get us in the final,” he added.

While it is believed that their two previous defeats at the Joseph Russell Stadium will not play a deciding factor on Tuesday, McGraa talked up the quality of Cables attack but warned that the Bucks have the tools to damage their hopes.

He continued: “They’re an aggressive team all the way through, (John) Murphy is a really good lad, a good player, they’ve got a good midfield but you can hurt them. You can get in behind, you can unsettle them and it’ll be what we will try to do.

“We’re massively confident, we’re in a good place, lost two games in 17 and we’ve got players who’ve been here before. It’s going to be two form teams going at it, the form guide doesn’t lie, it’ll be a good game, big crowd – it’s just who can stand up to it.”

Prescot Cables vs Bootle tickets

Online tickets have now been stopped to allow for walk-ups.

Tickets will be available to purchase at the turnstile (cash or card).

Kick-off: Tuesday, April 30, 7:45pm, Joseph Russell Stadium, Hope St, Prescot L34 6HD

[Featured Image: John Middleton – Prescot Cables]

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