SKIPPER Gary Kenny hopes cup progress can help Rylands out of the “little rut” they find themselves in.

Blues have lost their past four North West Counties League Premier Division games but have found solace in knockout competitions, including Saturday’s 4-3 victory over Padiham in the Macron Cup.

Their first league game in more than a month takes them to Ashton Athletic on Saturday, kick off 3pm, and Kenny believes they can take confidence from their showing at Gorsey Lane.

He also praised the performance of striker Freddie Potter, who scored a hat-trick as Blues set up a third-round tie with either Irlam or 1874 Northwich.

“We’ve been in a little rut recently,” the defender said.

“This might not be points on the board but it’s always nice to win a cup game.

“Freddie was different class. His first touch all game was awesome.

“They couldn’t deal with him so it’s nice that the lad has got what he deserved.

“We’ve gone through a period of overplaying the ball a bit and they’ve gone direct and we’ve let them back in.

“It’s disappointing to concede two goals. The most disappointing thing for us is that they haven’t had to work hard to get their goals.

“The five-minute period after their first goal was great to see. The work rate went up and we got a goal before the break as a reward.

“It was the same thing after their third goal – the effort went up and we were closing down more.”

Warrington Guardian:

Freddie Potter scored a hat-trick against Padiham on Saturday. Picture by Mark Percy

Potter opened the scoring from the penalty spot after being fouled in the penalty area.

Padiham equalised through Luke Noble before Potter rounded off some good work by Ste Wolhulter to give Rylands the lead again before the break.

Potter completed his treble just before the hour mark – putting in the rebound after a double save from visiting keeper Thomas Scott – and when Tom McNamara tapped home Blues’ fourth at the far post, they looked home and dry.

However, they did not account for a late Padiham fightback as goals in quick succession from Adam Morning and Noble saw them forced to hang on.

“In these competitions, ultimately the main thing is being in the hat come 5pm and that’s where we are,” manager Dave McNabb said as his side set up a third-round clash with either Irlam or 1874 Northwich.

“For 80 minutes, the lads were exceptional. We created chance after chance and the shape looked great.

“For their goal in the first half, we’re attacking down the left. The lad has pulled Tom Freeman down and the ref has missed it which is fair enough, but we had another opportunity to clear at that point so that’s what we’re focusing on.

“I’m really happy with how we responded – we went in at half time 2-1 up and when we’ve gone out in the second half, they haven’t been able to live with us.

“At the 80-minute mark, we could have been 6 or 7 up but we’ve had a couple of individual errors and we’ve conceded two goals in three minutes.”

Blues were due to face Padiham again – this time away from home – in the league tonight, but the game has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.