MATCH: Bootle v Ramsbottom United
VENUE: Berry Street Garage Stadium, Vesty Road, Bootle, L30 1NY
COMPETITION: Pitching In Northern Premier League West Division
DATE: Saturday 25th September 2021
DISTANCE FROM RAMMY: 48 miles, 54 minutes
You can pay on the gate – adults £8, concessions £4, accompanied U16s FREE.
The Rams are running something hot and cold this season. Having scored 15 goals in their previous four games, Lee’s side have hit the target just once in their next three, being ‘shut out’ at Workington and at home to Glossop last Saturday.
But with a full week without a game, there is plenty of hope that shooting practice would have been on the agenda for training this week.
The Rams have slipped to eighth place in the table having risen as high as third during their four successive wins run but 14 points from nine games under the new manager is still a decent return and the table is still in its early stages. A win could drive us back into the top four if other results go our way.
So there is certainly no concern in the camp as we travel, once again, westwards to Merseyside to face a team the Rams have not meet since 2012 – Bootle.
And the Bucks are under new management after long serving boss Joe Doran, who had been at the club for 15 years and was manager from 2013, left the club at the end of August after losing 2-1 to former New Bucks Park tenants City of Liverpool.
With two league wins in their last two games, beating Runcorn Linnets 2-1 and Market Drayton Town 3-0, Brian Richardson, the former FC United of Manchester assistant, will take charge for the Bucks the first time with plenty of encouragement against a Rams side with a single point from their last three games.
It promises to be a very good game between two competitive and free scoring sides – only Clitheroe with 23 goals have scored more than the Rams’ 16 in the league while Bootle, despite winning just three of their eight games, have netted just one less than us in one fewer game too.
As the old phrase goes, it is time to get back on the horse and get back to winning ways again, as the Rams have shown this season what they are capable of but it needs to be more consistent if they are to be creditable challengers come April.
STAT OF THE PREVIEW:
The Rams have collected just one point from a possible six in games on Merseyside this season! This will be our first trip to New Bucks Park since 2012 to face Bootle although we won 5-2 on that ground in January 2020 against City of Liverpool.
LEAGUE FORM GUIDE (most recent game first):
Ramsbottom United: D L L W W W
Bootle: W W L L L L
You can read all about the history between the Rams and Bootle in our comprehensive “Have We Met” article, which is below:
With a week off between games, it has given manager Lee Donafee’s men a chance to recharge the batteries and he is very much looking forward to his third trip to his ‘homeland’, and hoping for a change in fortunes.
But, Lee being Lee, he continues to be hard on himself as the team have struggled to get the results that the performances have deserved.
“We should have been 4-0 up at half-time in the Glossop game if we took our chances,” he mused. “I asked them to be patient but, in the second half, we were lucky to get out of the game with a point, we had to really grind it out and if it wasn’t for TK and Tom Stewart, we wouldn’t have lost the game.
“We missed chances against Workington and it was the same against Prescot. And its making me think about things.”
So he has a number of selection decisions to make ahead of the trip to Bootle and is puzzling over whether to make changes or keep strong with the same team.
“I haven’t announced our squad yet, which is the latest I have done that. I have got to make my mind whether to make changes to shake it up or trust them to get the results.
“I can’t put my finger on why the results haven’t come, maybe complacency, I don’t know.”
He admits that training has been good this week … “the first full Tuesday training session that I have had since taking over” … and could have a couple of fresh faces to unleash, “if we get them over the line in time.”
Eddie Cooper remains a doubt, as does Jake Thompson, who he feels is probably a week away from full fitness but Godwin Abadaki is still a month out from returning.
“Bootle have got a new manager, they will want to impress and have got some good new signings and it will be a tough game. But, as always, we concentrate on us.”
Lee is a hard taskmaster – on himself if anything. So let’s get right behind the lads on Saturday.
“I feel that everything is my fault at the moment,” he added. “We are not clinical enough and I want us to be.”