Runcorn Linnets manager Dave Wild expectant ahead of tough North Shields FA Trophy clash

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Runcorn Linnets manager Dave Wild says his side are confident ahead of their trip to North Shields.

Linnets return to FA Trophy action after they dramatically overcame Workington last Tuesday. Zack Clarke and Jamie Rainford’s stoppage-time penalty was enough to secure to comeback win.

They have had a 10-day layoff since their triumph and face a North Shields side who are unbeaten in their last two.

In the last round, North Shields overcame Pontefract Collieries thanks to goals from Regan Paterson, Connor Oliver and Brad Hird.

But for Wild, he is looking for his side to make it three wins in as many matches.

He told Off The Park: “I was lucky enough to be able to watch them because our game was off, I’ve got a good idea of how they play, I’ve had a report through – I’m lucky enough to see them play two games in a short space of time so I can’t envisage they’ll change much.

“It’ll be big game, tough game, physical game but we’re going up there in high spirits, we’re better, we’re fitter and have a cutting edge to our side now where we’ve got lads like Dapo and Zack Clarke and then them young lads who have come into their own and become starters.

“It’s up to them to keep their form going, we’re confident going up there just hope we can get it done. There’s nothing worse than a long trip back especially after a defeat in the cup.”

The Linnets boss recently complained about his side being a one-half team as they had to chase a two-goal deficit in the FA Cup away at Marske United. But more recently, the showings have pleased Wild and he isn’t phased about the manner performance as long as they leave the North East in the next round.

“It’s important but if we win 1-0 in the second half, I’m happy, as long as we do our job defensively – which we do and I have to give credit to ours lads at the back and Tabs the ‘keeper because they’ve kept us in a lot this season.

“I’d say the Skem game, Workington, I’ve seen two 70 to 90-minute performances so I think lads are starting to accommodate to what we want.

“They’re becoming a lot shrewder with how they deal with lull’s in games, at the start of the season, we just switched off in parts of games and become passive whereas we got lads who can either run the clock down or leaders who can take the game by the scruff of the neck. I’m confident we’ll go put 90 minutes on.”

Last week, Linnets said goodbye to Jacques Welsh as he moved to Bootle following his spell at the APEC Taxis Stadium but welcomed striker James Hooper.

Wild spoke highly of the departed midfield and praised his new arrival, he issued a message to any player who may not be completely on board.

He said: “I’ve made no secret whatsoever what I thought of Jacques, he was one of my main men, he played pretty much every minute of pre-season, played every minute up until the Skelmersdale game. He was massive for us, a big cog for us, but ultimately if you don’t want to play, go, if you’re not fully 100 per cent on what we want to do as a club then it’s time to go.

“He’s had an offer from Bootle, he’s been swayed by McNulty and an agent, moving up the leagues with McNulty – which I hope he does because I like Jacques, my phone will always be on for him, one of the best lads and characters I’ve met in non-league, great lad, brilliant for me.

“Like I said, if you don’t want to be here, we don’t want you – as brutal as it sounds, that goes for anyone. In terms of Hooper coming in, his quality is undoubted, there’s no question on that.

“I think it’s time to get a bit of stability in terms of a fixed club for a year or two – hopefully that will be us. I think he’s got a group of players where he knows 30 or 40 per cent of the squad which I think will help him.

“He’s a very big character, he’s just off his head, but I think what we are as staff and me as a manager, I think we’ll compliment each other because yes we are professional, yes we want to get the job done and win things but we have a good time with it as well.

“I think giving him a bit of freedom and an arm around him, a clear path to do what he wants. If you want to be a big character go in and do it, if you want to get your head down, work, focus on your football and nothing else go away and do it.

“He just needs to be played, loved and I have absolutely no questions he will score goals for us. He’s probably two to three weeks off in terms of us getting him to where we want to be, ‘right you’re fit and in shape’, if we give the fans a month, they will a really good goal threat and a replacement for Brookey [Ryan Brooke] which is what we’ve lacked.”

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