So far so good for Michael

Wed 15th November 2017 | Irlam
By Ian Templeman

Irlam manager Michael Dodd says he is confident that his side have the quality required to improve on their 8th place finish last season.

The impressive 5-3 win at West Didsbury & Chorlton last Friday was the latest in a good run of form for the team, but Michael insists that the best is yet to come.

"The win at West put us 11th in the table, and if I am being completely honest I think I would have hoped to have been a bit higher at this point", he said.

"We are maybe two or three places below where I would have wanted to be at this stage, but I feel like we are moving forward and will keep climbing the table".

It's been a decent start for Michael, who stepped up into the manager's job in the summer having previously been assistant to Steve Nixon, and although it's his first managerial role at the age of 27, he says that he has had no difficulty adapting to the change of role.

"I'm finding it all right. I was involved in the set up with Steve Nixon as manager and the majority of the staff remained loyal to me, and that allowed me to come in and give it a go as they have stuck with me.

"As the coach you always have a friendly relationship with the players, whereas with the manager it's a more serious relationship and that has been a transition.

"Obviously I am still friends with the players, but now I am making decisions that will disappoint them, and I have to try and keep that balance.

"I am only 27 and the same age as some of the players, and that causes its own little problems at times, but the players and everyone around the club have been great.

"Steve Nixon has moved over to become Chairman and has been really supportive, and we are all working together trying to move the club forward".

Michael admits, however, that two defeats in his first two competitive games did make him examine the way he had set out to approach the early games.

"Coming into the season we wanted to try and score more goals, and we opened up a bit at the start of the season against Abbey Hey and City of Liverpool. But we quickly realised that our strength last season was being hard to beat, and we reverted back to that.

"We lost 5-0 to City of Liverpool on the Saturday and then on the Tuesday we went to play Runcorn Linnets away, which was a daunting proposition but we managed to get a 1-1 draw on the night, and that brought everyone together and gave us a foundation to build on.

"From that game we went and won 4-0 against Squires Gate at home and we were up and running. That Runcorn Linnets game was definitely a point when I felt that we would be OK and were good to go".

In recent weeks, Irlam have had games against teams all in the top half of the table, and Michael says he is happy with the return.

"I feel like the last three or four games we have really clicked into gear", he said.

"We have had a tough run of games - Charnock Richard, Runcorn Linnets, Runcorn Town and West Didsbury & Chorlton - and we have managed to pick up two wins from those games, and the games we lost, we only lost by one goal.

"We spoke to the lads before the run of games, and said that although those games wouldn't define our season, we needed to approach them properly and just take them one at a time, treat them as individual games.

"I think if you had offered us two wins before the games we'd probably have taken it, although we do believe we are good enough to win every game.

"We were 2-1 up against Runcorn Town, and for a while we looked like we'd be the first team to beat them in the league, although they got the win in the end.

"So we have turned the corner I feel the way we are playing we are ready to push on and keep up with our target on improving on last year".

That target is one that Michael believes is achievable with the players he has at his disposal.

" For our first season in the Premier Division, to finish eighth was a great achievement, and for only our second season in the division we are still doing all right. We are looking to break into the top six and I believe we are good enough to do it.

"We beat Runcorn Linnets and drew away, drew away at Bootle on a midweek night, have beaten West Didsbury twice, and I think we are just as good on our day as the teams at the top of the division.

"It's just about getting that consistency, and if we do, over the season I really can see us kicking on and improving on that eighth position from last year".

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