CHRIS Willcock hopes Ramsbottom United have put their troubled times behind them and are ready to stage a concerted push for the play-offs.

The Rams have picked up seven points out of a possible nine in their last three outings - a 5-0 thumping of City of Liverpool on Tuesday confirming their upturn in fortunes.

It follows a run of three straight league and cup defeats that included losses to local rivals Colne and Clitheroe.

So Willcock could barely hide his delight that his side’s bad patch may be at an end.

“I’m ecstatic, I thought we were excellent from start to finish,” he said of Tuesday night’s victory.

“Some of the football we played was outstanding but I was even more pleased with our play out of possession and we kept a clean sheet so full credit to the lads.”

The victory, courtesy of a Tom Kennedy penalty, Iyrwah Gooden’s double and late strikes from Reuben Jerome and Josh Hmami, leaves Rammy eighth in the BetVictor League North West Division.

And, with their blip now in the rear-view mirror, Willcock says his players need to recreate their performance levels when they go for a third straight league win when they host Marske United on Saturday.

“I saw a massive improvement and the key word is confidence,” added the manager. “They’ve grown over the last two weeks or so.

“We won’t get carried away, we’ve had a really tough October and on the back of that we’ve had three good results so we’ll look forward to welcoming Marske here on Saturday and seeing if we can reproduce that again.

“There’s quality from top to bottom in this league, anybody can beat anybody on any given Tuesday or Saturday.

“Hopefully we’ve now had our month where things haven’t gone well for us and we’ve had our tough time of the season, which generally happens.

“It’s nice to get seven points out of nine, some of the football was exceptional and hopefully now we can kick on.”

Meanwhile Colne boss Steve Cunningham is looking forward to concentrating on the league following their cup exploits.

The Reds have played just nine games in the league following their run to the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup - where they lost 5-0 at Gateshead before losing 3-2 to Southport in the FA Trophy last weekend having led 2-0 at one stage.

“We’re still in the Lancashire Challenge Trophy but it is nice to be able to concentrate on the league now,” said Cunningham. “The cups have been brilliant, a real adventure and something we will always remember but now is the time to get down to the nitty gritty of the league.”

Cunningham will be hoping there is no hangover from their FA Trophy exit especially as they went on to Southport after conceding an injury winner.

“It was heartbreaking to go out the way we did,” he added. “We were superb and we should have won it. But we switched off and let them back in. We thought we were going to get a replay at least then they go and win it in injury time. But that is the way it goes.”

In truth, Colne have yet to get going in the league, losing four of those nines fixtures - the latest a 2-1 home defeat to Trafford on Tuesday.

So they go to Prescot Cables, 16th place in the table but with up to six games in hand over teams around them.

“It will be a tough game but we need to start winning games, climb the table and challenge at the top where we should be.”

Clitheroe will be looking to maintain their play-off push when they host struggling Ossett United at Shawbridge on Saturday.

Phil Brown’s side are currently fifth in the table but have seen their last two league games postponed.