THE 1874 COLUMN - By Matt Waters

WHILE uncertainty continues to loom over Covid-19’s impact on football this season, 1874 Northwich have the defence of the Macron Cup to focus on this weekend.

Captain Matt Woolley believes his side are ‘ready to go’ in the final against Runcorn Town on their home turf at the Viridor Community Stadium, kick-off 3pm.

“We’ve had a lot of friendlies over the last few weeks which has given us some much-needed match fitness,” said Woolley.

“We’ve played well in sections of those games and now it’s about being consistent in these competitive games that matter. We believe that we’re now ready to go.”

Despite some poor results in pre-season, Woolley believes that some ‘perspective’ needs to be put on the performances so far.

“This pre-season has been frustrating really for us and for a lot of other clubs too,” he explained.

“You start with some early cup fixtures and gain that competitive edge back before going back to playing friendlies where the mentality naturally changes.

“However, first and foremost as a player you want to win every game but you have to add some perspective to those results. Last Saturday, we started without a number nine so it does add that opportunity to try new things and most importantly get minutes in our legs.”

Not only does the Macron Cup Final offer 1874 a chance to make potential history as the first back-to-back winners, Woolley said he hopes it can draw a line under last season when the rug was pulled from under the team’s title and trophy push due to the pandemic outbreak.

“I think what happened had some impact in our performances in the early stages of pre-season,” said Woolley.

“However, last season was last season and it’s gone now. Our collective focus is on what’s in front of us and hopefully the Macron Cup can give some closure on what happened to the club.”

After Runcorn edged out AFC Liverpool on penalties in their semi-final, Woolley expects to face challenging opposition in the final.

“Like always we know that Runcorn will be a committed and organised side,” he said.

“They’ve got some good players and will be tough opposition especially. I imagine the game will be well contested.”

With the final taking place a week before the league campaign gets underway against the same opposition, Woolley added: “It gives us a great opportunity to put our marker down ahead of the season.

“It’s nice to have a competitive game that matters before the league season begins.

“The result really counts and we’ll have to perform well too.

“Having fans back has been a massive boost and no doubt will be for this game too. It adds an extra competitive edge for both sides and makes it a better occasion.”