FC Halifax Town: "We are going to play with utter freedom," says Wild on final day clash at Stockport

Town manager Pete Wild wants his side to play with "utter freedom" in the final league game of the season at Stockport on Sunday.

By Tom Scargill
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 8:54 am
Updated Thursday, 12th May 2022, 8:57 am

The fate of both clubs will be in the balance, with Stockport vying for the title with Wrexham and Halifax contesting third place with Solihull.

County need just a point on Sunday after their win at home to Torquay on Wednesday night.

Town were third before last Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Aldershot, which saw them overtaken by Solihull thanks to their win against Dagenham and Redbridge.

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Pete Wild. Photo: Marcus Branston

That means The Shaymen are now relying on Solihull slipping up against Boreham Wood, and needing to better their result.

But Wild doesn't want to dwell on Solihull having overtaken them.

"I don't think it matters, I really don't think there's any psychology in it at the end of the day," he said.

"We're on 84 points, we're joint-third on goal difference and the psychology is that 84 points would have won you the league last year, and we're 19 points better off (than last season).

"So for me, and the players, it's about making sure that we remember what we've done across the season and we don't dwell on the fact that we're third or we're fourth. It is what it is."

Wild wants his side to forget about league positions at Edgeley Park and play the game, not the occasion.

"It is we play with freedom," said the Town boss when asked what mentality he wants his side to adopt on Sunday.

"We know our two fates, we're going to give it everything we can to finish third, but we are going to play with utter freedom, we're not going to play with any shackles, we're not going to play with any worries.

"We know worst case scenario we'll finish fourth in this league, we know best case scenario we'll finish third in this league.

"So we can go out knowing that it is not life and death, it is basically we play with no pressure and we're going to go and express ourselves like a Halifax team should do."

Wild added: "No fans, no players and no staff members should be turning up at Stockport on Sunday nervous.

"We're going to go and play in-front of over 10,000, sell-out, we should all be buzzing for that, knowing that regardless of the result, we've achieved what we set out to achieve, and that was to get in the play-offs.

"So let's go play with a smile on our face, let's enjoy training this week and let's go there and give it everything we've got, knowing that there is no ramifications or repercussions from the result.

"We don't want to go there and just be cannon-fodder, we want to go there and express ourselves like we've done all season, and show everybody that we can live with the best teams in this league.

"That's what I'm saying to the players. Ifs, buts and maybes don't really matter on Sunday, go and play, go and enjoy it, go and show everybody what a good team you are, go and play in-front of the big crowds we all got involved in football for."

Will Wild be keeping tabs on Solihull's result?

"No, not in the slightest, don't care," he said.

Wild rates his side's chances of a top three finish as "fifty-fifty".

"The amount of negativity over the weekend, I just don't get it, I really don't get the negativity," Wild said.

"We should all be looking at our season as a whole, and our season as a whole says we've got 84 points, which is 19 better than last year.

"Our season as a whole means we've secured, as a minimum, a fourth placed finish.

"Dwelling on one result, I just don't get it."

On the draw with Aldershot last Saturday, Wild said: "There's been 43 games, there's been bumps in the road all season, we've got the best home record in the league, we're the best defence in the league.

"I don't get caught up in individual games. When we looked back as staff at the Aldershot game - across the week did we follow the processes to get us to Saturday? Did we see our team play the way we want them to play? Yes, and the result's a by-product of that.

"If you do all those things and you tick all those boxes, the result is a by-product of that.

"On review of the game, we had lots and lots of chances to win it, we haven't taken them.

"Then they've got nothing to lose going into the last 15 minutes by going for it and throwing three centre-forwards on, plus the two attacking midfielders, so it's basically five vs five, and it's very difficult for us to try and see the game out by getting a second or to try and stop them.

"As a manager, you always have thought-processes of what you do with your substitutions, we were trying to be positive with them to see the game out because we were that on top.

"But it hasn't happened and we move on, that's football. I was disappointed and so were the players, but that's gone now.

"We judge ourselves off how we do as a season, and our processes. Did we play the football I wanted them to play? Yes.

"The only missing ingredient was we didn't take our chances.

"Ninety-five per cent of what you saw on Saturday was exactly what we want to be, so we've got to be happy with that."

On Sunday's opponents Stockport, Wild said: "They had that consistency, they won something like 23 out of 25 games. Dave and his team deserve immense credit for what they've achieved to get themselves into this position. I think it's phenomenal.

"You look at any other year, two-points-a-game wins you the league, 84 points won you the league last year, so to go and do what they did from the position they were in when Dave took over, I think they deserve immense credit because if that happened in any league, at any level, that deserves immense credit."