WAYNE Goodison believes a meeting with Bootle will be a gauge of 1874 Northwich’s progress on the pitch this season.

The Bucks finished as runners-up to Atherton Collieries in the North West Counties League’s Premier Division last term, and start Saturday’s game in third place.

“If we can get a result then it will tell us a bit about where we stand,” said Northwich’s joint-manager.

“We had two good, close games against Bootle last season and it’s never an easy place to go.

“It’s important our approach is right and that we do the things that have served us well so far.

“There are similarities between them and us in that they want to be positive and to go out and try to win games.

“I expect it to be no different this time around.”

1874 have failed to win their past five league fixtures, drawing three.

However they head to Merseyside tomorrow buoyed by their display in a 4-1 win at Irlam in an FA Vase encounter last weekend.

“It was important for the lads [to win],” said Goodison.

“Paul [Bowyer] and I have been consistent in how we’ve spoken to them because we believe they’ve performed well and have continued to create chances.

“Little errors have been costing us, and that’s why winning in the way we did will give everybody a lift.”

1874 have let slip a two-goal lead in games against Congleton and Widnes in the past fortnight.

They led 3-0 by the break at Irlam before their hosts scored shortly afterwards.

However Jake Parker’s goal soothed concerns his side may be vulnerable to another comeback.

Goodison said: “I was happy with how we responded – it looked like we’d learned the lessons from previous matches.

“Defending isn’t a dirty word, and we’ve perhaps been guilty of trying too hard to score ourselves by way of reply to conceding.

“However we blocked off the supply-line to Irlam’s front players, and might have won by a wider margin.”