THE 1874 COLUMN – by Matt Waters

1874 MIDFIELDER Sam Hare revealed he is “ready to go” ahead of the expected return of North West Counties League football this weekend.

He said: “Before the lockdown I was struggling with my hamstring and then my big toe.

“It was frustrating to be out but after some sessions with Stew the fitness coach I feel ready to go.”

Stewart joined the club after being furloughed by Notts County this summer and Hare believes it’s something they needed.

He added: “It’s something we have all asked for. We know that the way we want to play we have to be at it every week because teams will put us under pressure.

“We know that going into every game, we have to have a much higher intensity than the opposition and he’s made us more professional so we’re lucky to have him.”

Stewart hasn’t been the only arrival of recent months as we announced the signings of strikers Ash Woods and Aaron Burns, and Sam told me they’ve bedded in nicely.

“They’ve settled in well and they’ve both got experience playing higher, which is where we want to be,” Hare said.

“They’re both goal scorers but slightly different players in some of the things they do and the way they play.

“It’s good to be competitive and good to have options in a side like ours.”

Despite losing 2-1 to Runcorn Linnets in last weekend’s friendly, Hare thinks it was a much-improved performance to build on before the return against Padiham on Tuesday.

“It’s difficult to get into a rhythm without having games back-to-back like we are used too,” he said.

“It comes down to how we turn up on the day and we didn’t do that right against West Auckland but we improved that, everybody got minutes and it was a much better squad performance.”

The return of football has helped everybody, whether that be fans, volunteers or players and Sam told me he is excited to get that enjoyment back in his life.

“First and foremost, like everyone at this level, we have jobs that pay the bills but for everyone, this is our enjoyment,” he said.

“Its been very stop-start and frustrating so far but fingers crossed things are looking up.

“Our fixtures are now pencilled in and it’s going to be pretty relentless playing nearly every Saturday/Tuesday and hopefully we’ll get on a good run.

“We’re one win away from getting into the top three at the moment so we aren’t going to get hung up over any one result.

“We want to be up there at the end of the season and I believe we can.”

With our last two games before the end of 2020 being at home, Sam said he hopes the players can put on performances to please the supporters.

“I hope they get behind us like they always do,” he said.

“We want to get on a good run and play football that will give them something to cheer about.”