Droylsden have lost only one of their last five games, winning three of them. They are 16th in the Evo-stik NPL first division table and 13 points clear of the relegation places. After the horrors of a double relegation there’s finally something to smile about.
Assistant-boss Lattie happily admits that the atmosphere at the Butchers Arms is better than he has known it for years. He puts it down to a squad of players who have blended well and willingly adapted to the Bloods’ chosen style of passing, attacking football.
He said: “At long last we’ve got a settled side. We’ve now got lads who’ll listen to how Dave and I want to play. We’ve found some people we can get through to. We’ve explained that we have a tried and tested formula, that we’re not novices, and they’ve responded just as we would have hoped. The penny’s dropped I’m glad to say.
“To be fair, some players have spent years at clubs doing things totally differently to the way we want them done. They’ve had to change, and fair play to them they’ve taken everything on board.
“At last we’re going into games and thinking we’ve got a chance — that we can win. That’s so important because we play a style of football that requires confidence.
“There’s a superb atmosphere and training’s been great. The lads have really been putting it in. It’s great to know we’ve finally got to the point where we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. We’re seeing some rewards for a lot of hard work.”
Among the players who have impressed are 20-year-old goalkeeper Steven James who has been signed on loan from Preston North. He has quickly become a favourite with the fans and Lattie appreciates his importance.
“Steve’s been a breath of fresh air,” he said. “Keeper’s a very important position for us because we rely on them to pass the ball out. We need someone with decent feet who doesn’t just kick the ball up field. He’s got to be comfortable with passing it out. Steve’s done really well for us.
“His loan’s up on Saturday but we’re going to extend it.”
Lattie also praised the other young players in the squad saying he had been particularly impressed with their effort.
“Some have come having never played proper football. They’ve been at academies where things are much different to the rough and tumble of our league. I’m happy to say they’ve embraced everything Dave and I have said to them. Long may it continue,” he commented.