Don’t let the occasion get to you, says Jackson

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Peter Jackson says the team that best handles the big-match occasion will come out on top in Wednesday’s play-off clash at the Shay.

Town host Cambridge in the first-leg tomorrow (7.45pm kick-off) before the return game at the Abbey Stadium on Sunday (1.30pm kick-off).

Jackson, who was part of the last Town team to win promotion to the Football League back in 1998, and has played or managed in three play-off campaigns in his career.

The former Huddersfield boss is expecting a nervy night at the Shay.

He said: “They are extremely tense occasions and there will be nerves.

“It will be about the team that performs and doesn’t let the occasion get to them.

“Cambridge have been in the top two or three most of the season so it’s going to be a difficult game.

“They’ve got the advantage of having the second-leg at home.

“But look at Liverpool on Sunday - their big players didn’t perform.

“I think they’ll still win the league but it’s about players performing on the big occasions.

“But Halifax know what it takes to get promoted through the play-offs so they’ll be more experienced in this situation.

“It’s important there’s a good turnout and the people of Halifax get behind them and generate a good atmosphere.”

Jackson praised Town’s achievement of making the play-offs, and said their part-time status makes the feat even more impressive.

He said: “It’s incredible. I think the chairman, board and supporters would have settled for mid-table security so to push on and get in the play-offs is remarkable.

“Especially with them being part-time, training twice a week and meeting up on a Saturday - it’s some achievement.

“I was part-time myself at Halifax.

“The full-time teams may be a bit fitter so for the Halifax players having jobs on the side makes it an even better achievement.”

Jackson also heralded Neil Aspin’s record since becoming Town boss in 2009 and says the Shay boss could become a much in-demand figure.

He said: “He’s done an amazing job. I’m surprised he’s not been linked to more league clubs for what he’s done.

“I think next year if he has another good season he will be touted as one of the up and coming managers.

“If a league club does come in for him then Halifax couldn’t stand in his way.

“He’s done so much for the club and I’m sure he would like a crack at going full-time.”