Neil Aspin says the prospect of playing Camrbidge in the play-offs holds no fears for his FC Halifax Town side.
The Shaymen booked their place in the play-offs with a 1-1 draw at home to Kidderminster on Saturday and host Cambridge in the first-leg of the play-off semi-final on Wednesday (7.45pm kick-off).
Cambridge beat Town 5-1 on the opening weekend of the season when Halifax had goalkeeper Matt Glennon and captain Danny Lowe sent-off in the first quarter of the match.
But the U’s, who finished second in the Skrill Premier, have lost their last four games in a row, including Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Gateshead.
Aspin said: “You can look at it two ways. We’re better off playing them when they’re not in a run of wins, that’s obvious.
“But they’ve got personnel, they can change the team. If they can go back to what they were like at the start of the season we know they’re a strong team.
“But we’re not scared of them and we’re really going to give them a good go.”
The Town boss admitted he would have liked to have recharged a few batteries among his squad before the semi-final, but now wants his team to relish the challenge ahead of them, with a place at Wembley just 180 minutes away.
He said: “A lot of the players have had to play when we would have liked to have rested them but they’re young, fit lads, they’ve been doing it all season and they’ve just got to go again now for the games in the play-offs.
“But they’ve done fantastically well and they’ve got to enjoy being in the play-offs. They’ve got to play to their best but they can enjoy it.
“We’ve got a good record of promotions and we’re not fazed by being in the play-offs, even at this level.”
Town would have faced Gateshead in the semi-finals had they beaten Kidderminster, but Aspin said he wasn’t too unhappy with Saturday’s result, which preserves Halifax’s record of losing just once at home in the league all season - the lowest tally in the division.
He said: “I wanted to guard against complacency but I wouldn’t have been disappointed before the game started with a draw.
“I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose another game at home because I think it’s a fantastic record.
“I was well aware of the other teams, who was playing who and what we might get if we finished in this position.
“It’s a funny thing but Cambridge wouldn’t have thought they’d be playing us in the play-offs when they beat us 5-1 on the opening day of the season.
“It gives us a great chance to redress that balance.”
Aspin praised winger Adam Smith and forward Josh Wilson, who combined to great effect for Town’s first-minute opener, but said Wilson looks set to miss the semi-final after picking up an injury late on in the game.
He added: “It was from the usual source of deliveries from the right hand side which was an absolutely fantastic cross.
“I don’t think many players could have dug that out and to be fair to Josh, I told him he needed to get in at the back stick because he’s capable of producing those crosses.
“He listened, he did what I asked and he got a great goal which really settled everything down and gave us a good platform.
“So, delighted for Josh but obviously disappointed for him that he’s picked up an injury. Unfortunate but you just can’t legislate for the odd injury.
“But I’m disappointed for him because he scored a good goal and he worked hard today.”