The North West Counties Football League
Published 21st April 2012
.....North West Counties League Premier Division.
Recently, Runcorn Linnets boss Paul McNally voiced his frustration that only one side gains promotion from the league each season.
O’Brien’s Bootle side were deeply involved in the title race this year but have just fell off the pace in recent weeks and heading into the final seven days of the campaign, have little to play for.
The Bucks do have the Liverpool Senior Cup semi-final with Everton to build towards on May 3rd but O’Brien admits it has been difficult rallying his players for their league fixtures of late.
And he believes an end of season play-off is a must at their level to bring them in line with most of levels of the non-league ladder.
“Only one side is going up this season and over the course of a forty-two-game season it is so hard,” said O’Brien.
“What is the point in calling us semi-professional if we are different to all the other semi-pro leagues and don’t have a play-off system?
“It is massively difficult motivating the lads at this stage of the season when we know we now can’t go up. There is not the same level of incentive for the lads anymore. But imagine how great it would be going into this stage of the season and you still being in the top six and so in with a shout of getting in to the play-offs?
“I’m good friends with Paul McNally and we’ve talked about this a lot.”
Bootle, third in the table, welcome Padiham to the Delta Taxis Stadium this afternoon with O’Brien already planning on how he can improve the squad for next season.
“Losing Neil Prince of the final ten days of the season has been hard because he was our creative midfielder,” said O’Brien. “We also need to look for a striker but they are hard enough to come by in Sunday League.”