Sport

Non-league Matters: Steve Halford targets seven more wins to hit Evo-Stik play-off place target

By Ross McLean

Player-boss Steve Halford is setting promotion-chasing Mossley the target of seven wins from their remaining eight games to secure a play-off place.

A run of three victories – against Trafford, Ossett Town and Goole – has seen the Lilywhites reignite their promotion push after an eight-game winless streak threatened to undo their season’s work.

With a number of teams eyeing a play-off spot, Halford insists there is little margin for error during the run-in.

“We have got a little points total in mind which we are looking to achieve and I think we need to win seven out of eight games to get into the play-offs,” he said.

“But it’s going to be interesting as it’s in everyone’s hands really and teams have got to play each other.

“Obviously Skelmersdale United have won the league and I think New Mills will definitely be in the play-offs.

“We’re fighting about six teams for three positions.”

Mossley are currently third in the Evo-Stik League Division One North standings with Harrogate Railway Athletic atSeel Park this weekend.

And despite Harrogate languishing in the bottom half, Halford acknowledges the threat the Yorkshireman pose after they inflicted defeat on high-flyers Skelmersdale and Trafford recently.

“Like most Yorkshire teams,Harrogate will be tough and physical and will not give you a minute’s peace so I’m expecting a feisty game,” added Halford.

“Their form has been quite decent recently and I’m just hoping our quality will see us prevail.”

Mossley have been a revelation this season after Halford guided the Lilywhites to a 14th-placed finish last term after taking over from Gareth McClelland in January 2012.

And the former Bury defender is relieved his side’s turbulent spell is over, with the 32-year-old looking for a strong finish to the campaign.

“We had a rough spell but during that time weren’t doing much wrong,” he said.

“The lads were making individual errors and we weren’t putting our chances away but we kept going and kept believing.

“Hopefully now, with these last three results being decent for us, we can push on and put another good run together.”

Evo-Stik Round-up

Evo-Stik Premier Division

FC United of Manchester– with games in hand on the majority of teams above them – entertain Blyth Sprtans while Ashton United travel to league leaders North Ferriby United.

Evo-Stik League Division One North

The top two go head-to-head this weekend with Ramsbottom United making the trip to face champions-elect Skelmersdale United.

Trafford host fellow play-off hopefuls Clitheroe at Shawe View while New Mills entertain Farsley.

Radcliffe Borough play lowly Goole atStainton Park as Andy Heald’s Salford City host Lancaster City.

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