FC Halifax Town: "I'll back us against anyone," says midfielder Woods on Shaymen's play-off chances

Martin Woods has experienced the elation and the dejection of the play-offs, so is better qualified than most to assess Town's chances.

By Tom Scargill
Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:47 pm

The Town midfielder was at Doncaster when they beat Leeds in the 2008 League One play-off final, as well as Partick Thistle when they lost in the play-offs against Livingston in 2018.

The 36-year-old's experience and know-how will be vital in guiding Town through the play-offs on and off the pitch.

And he is optimistic about Halifax's chances.

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Martin Woods. Photo: Marcus Branston

"I rate them highly," he said. "We're going to be up against Chesterfield at home, who won't enjoy coming to our place, our home form's been really good.

"If we win that we'll go to Solihull, who have been very respectful of how we've played, so it would be another tight game.

"It's all down to us though and how we do on the day, but I'll back us against anyone.

"Obviously we fell short at Stockport but that was a game with many different circumstances and just wasn't our day.

Martin Woods. Photo: Marcus Branston

"The gaffer changed things and tried something that's maybe not come off, but there's been a number of factors on the day why we came up short.

"But I'd back us playing our way that the gaffer, Milly and Sarg set us up in at the start of the season, I'd back us against any of them doing our thing.

"It's just a matter of us polishing up on certain things and hopefully we can get ourselves fully prepared.

"There's not a lot of time during the season to do a lot of work because it's always been game to game to game, so now we've got a bit of time to knuckle down and scrub up on a few things, but continue doing a lot of the really good things that we've been doing all season."

Town finished the regular campaign in fourth place, amassing 84 points and having the best defensive record in the National League.

"You look at the points tally we finished with, it's really good and in other seasons it would have got us right up there," Woods reflected.

"The other teams ahead of us have had extraordinary seasons as well, with huge budgets, so I think the club should be commended that we're right up there with such a small budget in comparison.

"It's been a really positive season. The gaffer's said to take three days to get ourselves mentally right and focused, rested up and ready to go for this big push.

"The only thing that's changed is one home game, which we've been strong at, so hopefully we can take that forward going into the Chesterfield game."

And from experience, Woods knows what to expect in the play-offs.

"It's exciting, it's like playing in a cup," he said.

"The league season's done now, going into the play-offs it's one-off games that are really exciting.

"I'm sure the whole town will be behind us. Hopefully we'll be able to keep our cool and go out and give a good account of ourselves.

"Especially the home game against Chesterfield, it's going to be really exciting because I don't think many teams like coming to play us on our home pitch.

"I don't think much should change from what we've done throughout the season.

"That's what's got us here so don't change too much from that, just control the emotions, nothing silly, and go and let our football do the talking.

"We've done that all season pretty much, bar a few slip-ups, but keep doing more of what we are and hopefully that'll be enough to get us up."

Woods was forced off with an injury in Town's last game of the season, Sunday's 2-0 defeat at champions Stockport, but is expected to be fit for Tuesday's game.

"I've just had to keep myself ready all season," he said.

"I started the season pretty well and then when I got my illness, Greeny and Kian came in and did great, so I just had to keep myself right in training every day, train really hard, keep my standards up and when I've been called upon, do my bit.

"Nothing will change from my side, I'll be ready to play if the gaffer calls on me.

"We're trying to create an environment where everybody's ready when called upon, whether that be me or somebody else, hopefully whoever it is they can go out and do the job."

Woods is coming to the end of his second season at Halifax, two years in which The Shaymen have established themselves as a promotion-chasing side under Pete Wild.

The midfielder feels promotion would be just reward for the progression that has been shown, but says it will all come down to what happens on the day in the play-offs.

"I think we deserve it. Other clubs will be thinking the same, but it means nothing come the play-offs and these one-off games," he added.

"If you turn up and you're the better team on the day, then you'll win and you'll get through, hopefully that will carry you through to the final and you'll win the final.

"There's a lot of clubs who'll be thinking the same way as us, it's our job to think we're the best in it when we're being us.

"It's a matter of turning up on the day, putting everything aside and just focusing on what we bring to the party, and hopefully that comes out.

"But the way everybody's stuck together all year, through some tough times, stuck to the process, we've accumulated a great points tally so nothing should change now.

"Hopefully we're going to go out and do the job and make everybody proud."