COLNE manager Nigel Coates believes his side need to maintain a cautious approach ahead of their trip to Merseyside this weekend.
Saturday’s opponents, St Helen’s Town, currently sit dangerously close to the Premier Division’s trap door, with just five points separating them and the potential relegation candidates. The Reds boss recognises the dangers that a team in that position could pose: “We’ll be hopeful of getting a result, but obviously they’re a team scrapping down there at the bottom of the league so it will be a tough game.”
However, Coates remains pessimistic that the match will be given the go-ahead at all: “The game is very much in the balance,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to get colder this weekend so it’s looking very doubtful we’ll be able to play.”
Colne have no such problems when it comes to cancellations in training though, as Coates has found a way around the severity of the cold winter climate: “I’ve got some time booked for indoor training sessions. We’ve got that until March so being able to train shouldn’t be a problem.
“Fitness levels really aren’t an issue with the training sessions.”
Like Colne, their opponents too suffered a bleak winter period with a number of their games being postponed due to the weather. Yet despite the poor conditions this year, the Reds boss doesn’t believe it has been so bad: “The weather hasn’t really affected us that much. It’s been worse over the last two winters. The snow and the ice didn’t help us last year, but this year certainly hasn’t been as bad.
“We’re only two or three games behind so we’re in the same boat as a lot of other teams really.
“Most of the fixtures have been rearranged now, but there are one or two that still need sorting out.”
Even with a number of games outstanding, Coates sees no reason to worry, and feels his players are more than capable of coping with the extra workload: “We’re not at our strongest at the minute, but the squad are used to that by now,” he said. “I’ve no complaints about injuries, we’ve just got to cope.”
With last Saturday’s match against high flying Bootle postponed, Colne will be hoping that this weekend’s game can be played, as the Reds go in search of victory to rescue them from mid-table obscurity. However, St Helens Town certainly have a great deal to play for themselves.
They are the only team to have played in every season of the Premier Division since its inception in 1982 and are in serious need of a win to ensure their participation at the same level next season.