1874 Northwich manager Ian Street believes that good summer signings and better luck with injuries are the main reasons for his side’s good start to the season.
The Greens have been in the top four right from the start, and Ian is naturally happy with the way the campaign is going, and in particular with the impact the summer arrivals have made.
“Pre-season. I pretty much got all the players I was looking to bring in”, he said. “I knew a couple of lads were leaving, such as Matty Beadle, so I made a list of targets and got them all so I was pleased how that worked out.
“A couple of those guys have been injured, the likes of Mark Jones didn’t start the season, but he’s getting back again now and I am quite happy with the squad at the moment.
“We were never really setting the pace in the last couple of seasons, although in the first season we were kind of finding our feet. Last season we suffered horrendously with injuries in September, and when wegot it back together, we had dropped off the pace a bit.
“But this time we are up with the pace, if not setting the pace, and I think one of the differences is the quality and the mentality of the new signings, and that was the reason for me having them as targets in the first place.
“I felt we needed some guys with a bit more mental toughness, and that is proving to be the case at the moment, so we have been fortunate with how that has worked out, but there is a long way to go”.
As we approach the midway point in the season, only a few points separate the top five in the Premier Division at the moment, and Ian’s s expectation is for that state of affairs to continue.
“I expect to go right to the wire, to be honest. Everyone seems to be dropping points and taking points off other teams. I hope that continues for everyone else except us!
“We’ve had 18 league games now, so give it a few weeks and we are halfway through the season. We would love to be at the top with maybe a six or eight point gap, but it isn’t the case, and I suppose that is good for the league in general as it keeps more clubs involved”.
Although promotion is a major target, Ian is also keen to emphasise that the FA Vase is very much part of the plan for a successful season, and the Greens face Atherton Collieries in a Second Round tie a week on Saturday. He admits, though, that it wasn’t a tie he would have chosen.
“The Vase is massive for us. The League and the FA Vase are the two competitions we really want to do as well as we can in both, and I don’t mean that disrespectfully to the other competitions, but we really want to stay in the Vase as long as possible.
“I’d love to do a Glossop, where we manage to stay in contention in both competitions for as long as possible, and we will be going all guns blazing for the Vase, just as much as we will for the league.
“It’s a tie I didn’t want, not because it’s Colls, but in the sense that I didn’t want anyone from our league.
“I wanted an away trip over to Yorkshire or up to the North East and a good day out for everyone at the club, to play new teams and visit new clubs that we have never been to before.
“And, obviously I would have wanted more clubs in our league to progress as well, and with Padiham drawing Bootle as well, it means two teams will be going out in the next round and that is unfortunate.
“After the draw I got in touch with Cleggy (Michael Clegg, Atherton Colls manager) and said the same to him, and he was of the same opinion. I don’t think either of us wanted to draw each other, but it adds a bit of spice and it should be a good game”.
As far as the rest of the season is concerned, Ian is looking to keep the winning habit and the early season form going.
“We are just looking for more of the same, and approaching every game the same way”, he said. “I was watching Blackpool at Daisy Hill the other week before we played them in the cup last weekend, so that shows how seriously we are taking every game.
“We are enjoying ourselves at the moment, so it’s all about just keeping on doing as well as we can do and keep the momentum going”.