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Irlam’s manager Michael Dodd: “The team who rises to the occasion will win the game!”

Our good friend, Irlam FC Michael Dodd admits that tomorrow’s FA Vase Third Round tie with Winterton Rangers at Silver Street will be a difficult contest for his North West Counties side. “Saturday’s game will be tough,” Michael admitted. “We have victories over Handsworth Parramore and Hemsworth from the Division above Winterton; but we are now meeting a team right at the top of their Division, who are used to turning up and winning games most weeks. It will be a challenge, but I also believe Winterton are approaching it as their biggest challenge of the season. The team who rises to the occasion will win the game,” writes Colin Muncie.

Looking back on his side’s campaign thus far, Michael told us, “our season has gone really well so far, but it genuinely could have been so much better! We have lost points from brilliant winning positions, which we have kicked ourselves for. But we are now unbeaten in the League in nine games and lie in seventh place – within touching distance of the top four or five. We had a great FA Cup run, winning 3 games before going down 2-1 away at Dunston, ironically the team that Winterton have beaten to get to this round. That alone shows that the game should be a close encounter.”

Michael is convinced that team spirit has been a key element in his side’s success. “We have a great group of young lads at the club this season; you will do well to find a team with the same togetherness as these lads,” he explained. “Some of the boys are close friends outside of football but there are absolutely no groups or cliques in the dressing room; all the players are buzzing every Saturday and willing each other on. Our captain Charlie Doyle has made a real positive impact since taking the armband; regularly galvanising the lads, along with the more experienced lads such as Liam Morrison, Matty Boland and Lee White all chipping in themselves.”

“Off the pitch we have improved as well,” Michael explained. “Myself and Assistant Manager, Wayne Burgess brought Joe Duckett on board as the First Team coach and Joe has made a real difference, both with his sessions during the week and his input on match days; the players have really taken to him and our form is a credit to him and the quality of his work.”

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