HE has no option but to look up the table, but Nelson boss Paul Paynter is confident that his basement Blues will launch an assault on the North West Counties First Division.
Paynter’s men may be rock bottom of the table but they’re currently level on points with five other clubs and only a point shy of Atherton Collieries in mid-table. Nelson travel to Irlam tomorrow hoping to continue that work in progress.
“The league is the main priority but I’m a manager who wants to win every game we play,” said Paynter. “I’m very confident that I can push up the table. We are 10 games in now and we’ve been good enough to pick up wins and points.
“The games against Norton United and Wigan Robin Park have given me an indication that we are good enough to compete at this level. We will finish further up the table but it’s still work in progress.”
Changes were made for the first round of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy against Ashton Athletic on Wednesday night but Paynter insists that there was no excuse for the dismal display in the 6-2 thrashing at Little Wembley.
“If anything the result flattered us a bit,” Paynter declared. “We just weren’t at the races. We had a couple of players missing but that’s no excuse for starting the game so slowly. We didn’t defend well as a team and we weren’t so great going forward. We picked up a bit in the second half but the game was over by then. I can’t understand why we performed like that but we played without any passion.”
But the Blues boss was more buoyed in the performance levels shown in the 1-1 draw against Norton United in the first round of the League Challenge Cup. Skipper Jav Mohammed (pictured) cancelled out Lee Talbot’s strike for the visitors. Despite playing the final 25 minutes of extra-time with just 10 men, after Ralph Welch suffered a hamstring strain, the home side held on for a replay.
“Against Norton we were very good and competed well against a side who are riding high in our division,” said Paynter. “I thought we matched them and what was even more encouraging is that we played 25 minutes of extra-time with just 10 men. We created half chances and looked like we could’ve nicked it.”
He added: “We were involved in three cups at the start of the season and we’re obviously left in two. The League Trophy will kick-off in November and that’s a competition we can realistically do well in because it’s a divisional trophy. The cups are important and we’ll be taking them seriously.”