Non-league Matters: Trafford boss Garry Vaughan full of confidence as part-timers eye play-off final glory

By Ross McLean

Promotion-chasing Garry Vaughan is in buoyant mood as his Trafford side – in touching distance of the Evo-Stik Premier Division – prepare for their season-defining curtain call.

After defeating New Mills in the semi-final, the Flixton-based club head to Birkenhead where in-form Cammell Laird lie in wait ahead of Friday evening’s winner-takes-all clash.

And Vaughan – who made more than 300 appearances for Trafford during the 1990s – knows his charges face a tough task against a team unbeaten in 12 league games.

“It will be really tough as Cammell Laird haven’t lost since mid-March but we are at full strength and I’m very confident after our results against New Mills and Clitheroe,” he told MM.

“It’s only half a job done at the minute and I’ve said that to the boys but we’ll go there and be professional in everything we do.

“And hopefully we will come away as a Premier Division side.”

Promotion would cap an impressive season for the Shawe View outfit after recording a series of mid-table finishes since returning to this level of football in 2008.

But the former Port Vale midfielder, who already has an eye on next season, is adamant his side would thrive in the higher division.

“We have played the likes of Marine and Spennymoor Town in the cup and I think the type of football we play would suit the league above us,” he added.

“So I’d be very confident going up. I would need some players, in fact I’m already in for five or six that would strengthen us for next year.

“But I would have no qualms about going up that’s for sure.”

One player Trafford will want firing on all cylinders if their promotion dream is to be realised is top-scorer Michael Oates.

Oates netted his 35th league goal of the campaign as Trafford triumphed in the play-off semi-final, with Vaughan full of praise for the former Crewe Alexandra striker.

“He’s different class,” he said.

“He’s been amazing and he’s a model pro. He eats all the right gear and he’s a personal instructor so his fitness is never in doubt.

“To have a guy like that around the dressing room with his attitude is a breath of fresh air in football nowadays.”

Vaughan’s drinking partner is FC United of Manchester boss Karl Marginson, himself masterminding play-off glory with the Red Rebels at Hednesford Town in Saturday’s Premier Division final.

The pair formed a dynamic midfield partnership at Salford City for several years, and Vaughan hopes to be celebrating a double promotion party this weekend.

“It’s already planned,” he added. “If the result goes well for us on Friday I’ll roll out of wherever I am in the early hours.

“I’ll then be straight on the FC United coach to watch Margy and support my second club, hopefully to another promotion.”

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