Non-league Matters: Mossley boss Steve Halford wants ‘Lady Luck on our side’ for help in play-off bid

By Ross McLean

Focussed Mossley manager Steve Halford is concentrating solely on his side’s crucial home match with Harrogate Railway Athletic this weekend as the campaign reaches its crescendo.

The Lilywhites were frontrunners for much of the season but with one game remaining find themselves outside the play-offs but level on points with fifth-placed Trafford.

And should his players take care of business their end, Halford is hopeful favours elsewhere will see Mossley sneak into the play-off zone.

“All we can do is take care of ourselves, win our game and hope ‘Lady Luck’ is on our side and we manage to squeeze in there,” he told MM.

“We can only effect what we are doing. Hopefully Clitheroe will do a professional job against Trafford – they have been up there all season so I don’t see any reason why they won’t.

“Champions Skelmersdale United play Ramsbottom United and they will be presented with the trophy so I’m hoping they put their strongest team out and have a really good go. So fingers crossed.”

The 32-year-old former Droylsden defender was handed the Seel Park reigns in January 2012 following the resignation of Gareth McClelland.

And after guiding Mossley to a 14th-placed finish, Halford insists he always envisaged his side mounting a promotion charge in his first full season in charge.

“When I took over we were second-bottom but before the start of this season I wanted to win the league,” he added.

“That hasn’t happened and the only thing we can do now is get in the play-offs and try and win promotion.

“And if we do get in the play-offs we won’t be there to simply make up the numbers we will have a really good go at it.”

Play-off semi-finals at this level are stand-alone matches with a second or third-place finish in the league guaranteeing a home tie.

But Halford is unconcerned with potential opponents, maintaining he is happy to play anyone as long as his side still have a shot at promotion come Saturday evening.

“To get into the play-offs would be fantastic and if we do they will take care of themselves,” he said.

“I don’t fear anyone in the play-offs – it’s a one-off game and if we turn up we know what we’re capable of.

“Anything can happen – a bad decision, a bit of luck, a piece of magic, anything. It is a lottery.”

Fixture Round up

Evo-Stik Premier Division

FC United of Manchester – assured of a play-off place – host Frickley Athletic in the final game of the regular season while Ashton United travel to league leaders North Ferriby United.

Evo-Stik League Division One

With play-off places still up for grabs, Trafford entertain Clitheroe at Shawe View while Ramsbottom United are away at champions Skelmersdale United.

Curzon Ashton face New Mills at Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold as Radcliffe Borough host Goole and Salford City entertain Lancaster City.

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