April 23, 1894
The Liverpool team, having received orders to go into training at Hightown, were engaged in but one solitary encounter last week, and will not be seen again in harness till the fateful meeting with Newton Heath.
It was the return County Palatine League match with Preston North End which took place at Deepdale on Monday. North End were strongly represented – far more so than Liverpool, who were minus the services of both backs, Matt McQueen and Joe McQue.
Fred Nidd made a very able substitute for Bob Holmes, whilst Bob Stormont’s speed and cleverness accounted for the absence of Sharp, otherwise the team was at its full strength.
Liverpool were compelled to rely on T. Hughes and Killip (both of Aintree Church) at back, with Jimmy Stott at centre-half; but the greater weakness was not in the back division, but lay principally in the half-way line, this occurring probably for the first time in the club’s history.
Following the accepted precedent now established with these two clubs, the meeting of the teams brought about a fine game, thoroughly interesting, and being a really brilliant exposition at times of the correct game.
Continuing the County Palatine League – farce or burlesque would be a more appropriative name as at present conducted – Darwen’s full strength was met at Barley Bank on Saturday by Mr. Alex Nisbet’s second eleven in its whole entirety, and, as was to be expected, were soundly trashed.
It must be stated, however, that the heavy nature of the score against the Liverpudlians does not by any means truthfully reflect the game, as a great weakness was shown by Alex Rennie, in goal, when at all in difficulties.
Turning to the important match next week the Liverpool committee intend to rely solely upon the players who had so brilliantly brought the club to its present high position. The few days of preparations they have undergone has already made a marked improvement upon one or two of the team, while the whole of the company express themselves in high terms of the salubrious and keenly appetising nature of the atmosphere, which, combined with the wholesome and plentiful diet, provided by the proprietors of the Hightown Hotel, will tend to make their training, usually looked upon as hard work, into an almost ideal holiday.
The players themselves speak very confidently of their capability of winning the test match, and after the fortnight’s rest, regular living, and careful training under Mr. H.P. Ellis, they should without much doubt be able to take down the Heathens. From what information can be gathered the team selected will be something like the following: – McOwen or M. McQueen, goal; Hannah and McLean, backs; M. McQueen or McCartney, McQue and McBride, half backs, Gordon, McVean, Henderson, Bradshaw and H. McQueen, forwards.
There is but one point the different members of the committee must not forget in their final selection, and that is to throw all sentiment and feeling on one side, and put in the safest and most reliable players, even at the cost of one who may have done good service in the past, but who now, through loss of health, nerve, or anything else, is not up to the concert pitch.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: April 23, 1894; © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved)
The Hightown Hotel. Image found here.