Bootle took a risk hiring me, says Neil Prince

SIX months into his managerial career, and Bootle boss Neil Prince is riding high.

Third in the North West Counties Premier Division, six points off the leaders with an incredible six games in hand, and having lost just once in the league all season, the Bucks look in good shape for a promotion push in 2013. As baptisms go, Prince's has been terrific.

Prince's arrival was the key feature of a summer of change at the Delta Taxis Stadium. The long-serving Chris O'Brien was relieved of his duties after seven years, with Prince, at 29, a bold choice to replace him, amid a field of experienced applicants.

“I think it was a big gamble from the club to appoint me,” he says. “I'm young, and it is my first managerial job, so there was a lot of risk involved on their part.

“From my perspective, I always had faith in my own abilities, I knew that there was a structure at the club, and I knew that we had the players here to be successful.

“There was maybe a little bit of worry over the fact that I am younger than a few of the players, and with Chris having been here for so long I did wonder how they would take to me.

“But I have to say I couldn't have asked for a better start really. I've got great support from the club, and the players have really knuckled down for me. They have bought in to what I am trying to do here, and the results have been excellent.”

Prince, of course, is one of the few managers at this level who combines managing with playing. He is sidelined with a knee injury at the moment, but says his time in the dugout has allowed him to see the bigger picture.

“I think it's benefited me,” he says. “Previously, I'd be focusing solely on getting myself back fit and worrying about myself, but obviously I can't do that now.

“And, to be fair, the team are not missing me. We are still getting results, we are still playing good football. And that is great for me.”

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