Toolstation NCEL Premier Divison
Chris Bolder says he’s delighted with North Ferriby’s league position but is warning his side about the ghosts from last season as the season moves towards the New Year.
Ferriby rule the roost at the top as they have a five point lead on Emley – who have a game-in-hand – playing 17 matches.
Ferriby were in a similar position this time last season in Division One.
A poor run in December handed relentless Hallam top spot and Ferriby were unable to stop them.
“A huge positive for us at the minute is our current league position,” Bolder told Non League Yorkshire.
“We have had a lot of player unavailability issues so we have had to utilise the full squad which has meant we have never had a settled eleven.
“It gives massive testament to what a fantastic squad we have when we can make five or six changes and we’re sitting top of the league.
“We’re in a good position and if you had said at the start of the season that after 17 games we would be sitting top with a decent points return then I would have been delighted and I would have snapped your hand off.
“We’re not at the halfway mark so there’s a long way to go
“We’re in a strong position but as we saw last season a run of results can quickly change the complexion of the table.
“It is important you don’t get far and carried away.
“You have to have what we did last season in the back of your mind.
“Hallam turned over a several point deficit in a few weeks and ultimately it cost us the league. You can’t deny that.
“A lot of the squad were with us last season so they know that we let ourselves down in that period of time.”
Bolder also believes Ferriby are well-prepared to avoid a repeat of last season’s slump.
“No different to anyone else, we lost a few players to illness and it kind of de-railed us,” he said.
“When we were flying last year we had a consistent nine in the team.
“Around the Christmas/January time we lost four-or-five key players at different points and it de-railed.
“Anyone that is successful you do need that good fortune in terms of keeping players injury-free.
“That’s what hurt us last season.
“I do believe we have a squad this season that if we do encounter those kind of issues we have cover this time around.”
One difference with last season is a tighter Division, according to Bolder who says the Premier Division title race is much wider field.
“When you look at last season there was a lot of teams vying for (the Division One),” he said.
“I know a lot of people said it was between ourselves and Hallam but I disagree.
“You had teams like Harrogate Railway, Rossington and Brigg.
“All those teams were strong and if they had had the fortunate of a run at a certain time then they would have been right in the mix.
“This season you can see that anyone in the top half is probably eyeing up the opportunity to get in that top two.
“I think it is a really competitive.
“You look at Hallam for instance. They haven’t had an amazing start but don’t be surprised if they put an amazing run together and come really strong.
“There are a lot more dangerous teams in this league.
“Last season there was a big difference between the top third and the bottom third.
“This season I don’t think that’s the case.”
A further achilles heel from last season was their inability to convert multiple chances in matches.
Bolder regularly bemoaned his side’s goals for column.
He feels that issue has been addressed and the return of striker Josh Whiteley will only benefit them further.
“Josh is a great player and a brilliant lad around the dressing room,” he said.
“We’re delighted to have him and Levi (Tarbottom) back in the fold.
“We’re creating a lot of chances (and scoring them).
“Last season our negative was the amount of goals we scored.
“If you look across the board for this season we have numerous players sat on five, sixes and sevens.
“We have a nice number of people contributing so to add Josh Whiteley back into that is a good boost for the squad.”