With Paul McNally’s Cammell Laird 1907 side sitting 12th in the NWCFL Premier Division, the Lairds manager is keen for a return to action as soon as possible, after four weeks of postponements.
“I can’t remember any weather as bad as this,” he commented. “It’s so frustrating for me as a manager, but even more so for the players.
“We have been preparing professionally with some good training sessions and a friendly or two, but there really is nothing like playing competitive league football to boost match fitness.”
McNally is satisfied with his side’s position in the table, but still is looking for 1907 to push on in the second half of the season.
“We knew it was going to be tough having come up last season, and whilst I think we can do better, 12th represents a good effort from all involved. We are only six points off the top seven, and I’m looking at that as a couple of wins to take up right back up there.
“Early on this season, I think we perhaps lacked the rub of the green in a couple of games. We were dominating teams, but failed to put games to bed and we drew or lost matches that we felt we should have won. However, we’ve learnt vital lessons from that going forward.
“I think there’s a perception that we should be higher than we are, but our position should be judged in context. Our gates have improved this season but are still amongst the smallest in the division, and we only reformed in the summer of 2014.
“Our efforts are on building through the youth system and junior section. We are looking to produce the best young local talent for the club so we can build a young, dynamic, successful team whilst also securing the future of the club for years to come.”
Progress in the cups has also been a welcome distraction.
“We are in the quarter-finals of the Men United Cup, after a professional performance away to Daisy Hill, which we know is always a tough place to go, and then a 4-2 victory at Nelson in the last round. I’ve never seen rain like it that day, but we passed the ball well and scored four great goals.
“We’ve got a home tie next against AFC Blackpool, but we won’t be underestimating them as we had to work really hard for a 2-1 win at their place earlier in the season.”
“The Cheshire Senior Cup also saw us beat Nantwich Town, who are flying in the Evo-Stik Premier, and I think everyone there would agree that we fully deserved that.
“We’ve got a great tie against Macclesfield Town next, and it’s one that the lads have been looking forward to since the draw was made. We’ll be the underdogs again, but we do believe that we can at least match them.”
However, McNally recognises that there is room for improvement in the league. “We need to be more consistent and we know that, particularly at home. However, in every game this season, we have worked very hard and I believe if we keep doing that, the results will come in turn.
“We know every game in this division is a competitive game, but I do genuinely believe that we are capable of matching anyone. For example, we played a Colne side who were previously unbeaten but beat them 4-0. I think Colne will be up there challenging for the title come the end of the season, but we were outstanding on that day.”
One thing that the Lairds boss knows that his team have is the desire to do well and the togetherness to bounce back from setbacks.
“No one can doubt this team’s spirit. We have bounced back against the odds so many times this season. Against AFC Liverpool in September, we were 4-2 going into the last minute and drew 4-4.
“We were handed our biggest defeat of the season at Linnets, and then bounced back on the Saturday by beating Colne. We got deservedly beaten at home against Abbey Hey, but two days later, won 1-0 at Runcorn Town, who had won nine of their previous ten games.
“I could go on, and there are so many examples of where we have displayed real character this season.”
The Lairds boss believes that the signs are good for next season.
“We are already beginning to build towards next season, and I am hopeful that with our good blend of youth and experience, we can push on to improve on our final position.
“Having a year under our belts at this level will be important, so we are certainly feeling optimistic.”