Sam Wilson details Warrington Rylands pride as interim managerial decision made

Warrington Rylands celebrate goal

Sam Wilson has credited his former Warrington Rylands teammates after stepping up to become joint manager, following Michael Clegg’s departure. 

The defender made the move back into the dugout, a year after he was accompanied by former Football League midfielder Dean Furman in light of David McNabb’s exit, initially temporarily. However, both Smith and the ex-Doncaster Rovers and Oldham Athletic man will remain in charge until the end of the season.

Rylands sit third in the Northern Premier League and have won their last two. With Furman in the starting 11, Wilson has opted to take the reins from the sideline and has praised the squad for their reaction during a turbulent period. 

“Cleggy did a brilliant job in putting a solid group of people, as well as players together, in the summer and it was a difficult end to February,” he told Off The Park. “The news came as a bit of a shock and all happened quite quickly, we never questioned the group or how they’d respond.

“At the beginning of the year, we hit a difficult period which is normal after having such a strong start – people externally might attribute that to certain things but most teams at any level go through that phase at some point. I feel that we’re out of that and we’re in a good position to finish strongly.”

Clegg made the shock move to rivals Macclesfield last month and some 48 hours later, Smith was in the dugout for their clash with Gainsborough Trinity. It would be a disappointing start as the 10-man Blues suffered a 4-1 defeat. 

They’ve since responded with comeback wins over FC United of Manchester and Bradford (Park Avenue) in recent weeks to catapult them back into playoff contention. Gradually, there are positive signs as well as performances, he added: “Last Saturday ended quite frantically but on the balance of play, we were in control but found ourselves behind. 

“At half-time, we were calm, we felt that we could score and go on to win the game, Luke (Pilling) saved a penalty which was their only entry into our half and we went on to win it so it was a frantic end and felt more euphoric considering the end of the game. 

“But on the balance of play, reviewing the game, it was a really comfortable and controlling performance – at this stage of the season, you take three points whatever way you get them. 

“I’ve enjoyed it, up until yesterday we were just taking it a game at a time,” Wilson continued. “Our priority, myself and Dean (Furman) was to ensure the lads had consistency in terms of messages, we’ve not tried to change a lot. It’s a really good group and I’m fortunate the way they’ve responded, it’s a testament to them, they’ve made it a really easy transition. 

“It’s helped not playing, it was difficult last time, trying to play and do the joint-management side of things but it’s good that we’ve got stability because I’ve had a bit of a stop-start season with injuries. We’ve got enough cover and options in that backline for me not to play and for Dean to continue to play.”

Hyde United’s superior goal difference keeps them above Rylands, who have a game in hand. Marine, Guiseley, Macclesfield, Lancaster City and Worksop Town are among the clubs looking to make a late surge into the top five.

Rylands return to Gorsey Lane this weekend where they host Bamber Bridge. Jamie Milligan’s side have endured a difficult season this year following numerous changes to their squad, following their playoff final defeat.

Brig sit in the bottom half of the Northern Premier League but Wilson is not underestimating the threat they possess. He said: “Bamber Bridge, irrespective of their league position, are a really dangerous side to play against. 

“They’re free-flowing, they’ve got dangerous players and they’re always a tricky opponent. In comparison to last season, it looks like they’re not as strong but their achievements last year have been fantastic with their scale and resources. 

“They have a fantastic manager, it’s a tougher game than we’ve had in this run in so far, we’re well prepared, done our homework but it will be a tough game.”

[Featured image: Warrington Rylands – Mark Percy]

For enquiries: