Hednesford two games from promotion
Hednesford Town make the 110-mile trip north to West Yorkshire to face Bradford Park Avenue in the Evo-Stik Premier Division Play Off Semi Final on Saturday in a season defining match.
After forty-two games of highs - the astonishing 5-4 victory against Stafford Rangers and 2-1 away victory against eventual champions Chester, and lows - the Chasetown defeat on Boxing Day and losing to Chorley 5-1, The Pitmen stand just two games away from promotion to the Conference North.
The first hurdle is a strong Bradford Park Avenue team who finished five points clear of Rob Smith's side and no doubt also fancy their chances of promotion after losing to FC United of Manchester in at the semi final stage last season.
The Yorkshire club secured their play off place with a 3-0 win at home to Frickley Athletic on April 14th but have since lost to both Northwich Victoria and Chorley.
The Pitmen, who looked unlikely to be in this position three weeks ago, secured two wins and two draws in their final four fixtures to overhaul FC United of Manchester but manager Rob Smith has stressed that he is under no illusions regarding the test his team face on Saturday.
'Bradford are a side who like to play football from the back and keep the ball very well. They have quality strikers and excellent wide men. We will have to be at our very best to have any chance. Make no mistake, we are massive underdogs but that will suit us.
The manager, a veteran of play-off campaigns with both Hednesford and Telford, talked about his excitement at just wanting the game to get under way and was sure the Pitmen supporters feel the same.
'I don't get nervous, I just can't wait for the game to start. In terms of the players it is just a matter of focussing their minds on the task in hand and ensuring their concentration doesn't slip. I'm sure the fans share my excitement; the support we have been given away from home has been nothing short of superb this season and the players really appreciate it.'
Team news wise, the only doubt for The Pitmen is the continuing struggles of Nick Wellecomme and his troublesome heel injury but the management team are hopeful it will have benefited from a week break.
Gary Hay and Danny Quinn both return to the squad after their absence through injury and loan respectively and Smith, while staying tight lipped about his starting line up, admits a hero could be made come the final whistle on Saturday.
'A victory will no doubt be a team effort but any player in the squad gives us an option and you never know.'
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