THE 1874 COLUMN – by Matt Waters

AS we are now allowed 300 fans in attendance at North West Counties games, I caught up with captain Matt Woolley who hopes they can “put on a show” for supporters as we return to competitive action this week.

“It’s massive to have fans back, especially for a community club like ourselves,” he said.

“I’ve been fortunate to be with the club for a long time now and have got to know some our fans extremely well.

“It’s great the fans can see each other again and likewise for us we can see them.

“They’re a massive part of the club and hopefully we can put on a show for them now that competitive football is returning.”

One area Woolley believes gives us an advantage over other teams is the amount of competitive football we will play before the season commences on October 3.

“It’s something we’ve never faced before but for me, I personally think it helps us prepare better ahead of the league campaign.

“If we get through against Warrington Rylands, we will then have at least two potentially three more competitive games left as we are in the semi finals of the Macron Cup.

“For us, we think it gives us a unique opportunity to play these competitive games at this time of year, which will only benefit us heading into the new league season.”

Woolley also told me he sees playing in the Macron Cup an opportunity to add “closure on the season that never happened.”

“It’s brilliant that the league has decided to carry on with the cup.

“Providing we get through against Shelley and we are successful in the final, it could be an opportunity to properly add closure on the season that never happened.

“Hopefully, all being well we can retain the trophy and give the fans something to celebrate early in the season.”

With Paul and Wayne making several additions to the squad, Woolley said he’s excited to see the added depth this year.

“The squad we have now is extremely competitive and there is in some cases three players fighting it out for one shirt, so it makes us all put in that extra effort knowing there is someone fighting to take it off you.

“It gives Paul and Wayne different options that maybe we haven’t had before in terms of selection.

“That being said, however, it makes it difficult for them when trying to pick that eleven because everybody contributes and offers something different.

“I’m excited to see such depth and hopefully it helps us kick on and do well this year.”

Finally, Woolley added that he believes we need to convert more chances, making use of our possession.

“Even though we were the top scorers in the league last season, there were times where we dominated large parts of the games but only won one or two nil.

“It’s something we’ve looked at during pre-season and I think we know we have to be more clinical and take our chances when they come.”