FC Halifax Town: “We’ve not come this far now to chuck it away” says Woods as play-off race reaches pivotal stage
Town midfielder Martin Woods says the race for the play-offs in the National League will come down to whoever can hold their nerve - and is confident The Shaymen can do just that.
Halifax visit in-form Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday aiming to bounce back from a poor display in losing 1-0 to Boreham Wood last weekend, leaving them in seventh place and looking nervously over their shoulders.
“I think it’s going to go right to the wire now, we’ve not done ourselves many favours over the last run of results, it’s been a mixed bag,” Woods said.
“Saturday was a tough one, the performance was nowhere near good enough.
“I think we’ve got to win at least two out of the last three games, or it’s going to be very difficult.
“We’ve just got to go and take care of business on Saturday and then whatever happens round and about us, we’ve just got to keep focusing on our game and trying to get positive results, because we’ve not come this far now to chuck it away.
“We’ve got to put it all into Saturday, get that ticked off hopefully, and then go into the next one.
“But Saturday just gone, that was really bad so things need to be upped from that performance level if we’re going to get anything going forward.”
When asked what he thinks will decide who makes the play-offs and who doesn’t, Woods, who has made more than 300 senior appearances in professional football, said: “Bottle, who can hold their nerve.
“You can see from Saturday’s game, there’s not much in these games at all.
“We can play a lot better, obviously, but there’s not much in it when it comes to it.
“It’s who is making the mistakes and who isn’t, it comes down to who is holding their nerve at this time of the year, and just trusting in the game plan and the process, going out and carrying that through at the weekend, not going and doing your own thing.
“It comes down to concentration, bottle, nerve, who can hold it together.
“It excites certain people, it excites me, so hopefully it excites the rest of the boys as well.”
Woods is adamant that if Town perform to their best, there should be no stopping them.
“If you look throughout the season, I think there’s only been a couple of games where we’ve got victories without playing better than the other team,” he said.
“I think we’ve played a lot better and not got anything out of games.
“As long as the performance level is high, I feel the results will come so I think we need to focus on that, getting the game plan nailed down and try to carry it out come Saturday because when we’re on it, there’s nothing to fear in the league whatsoever.
“But when we’re off it, like Saturday, we’ll get beat, it doesn’t matter who you’re up against. Boreham Wood’s playing for nothing, but they created the best chances and played really well.
“There were a number of factors that came into play with that, but we just need to focus on us and doing the things that have got us in this position, the right things that have got us there throughout the year, and don’t go away from that, just keep trying to knuckle down.”
Woods says he is confident The Shaymen can finish in the play-offs.
“I am, I think we’ve got enough boys in the group that are focused,” he said.
“It’s a great bunch, we’re all in there together, and you can see that in a lot of the performances this season.
“Everybody’s backed each other, we’ve had a lot of sending-offs, we’ve all stuck together, we’ve had a lot of injuries, we’ve all stuck together, and after Saturday’s bad results, we’ll stick together again and we’ll go to put that right this Saturday.
“I back the boys, I back the group, I back the staff. Everybody’s trying their best, so we’ll hopefully get the job done and get in those play-offs.”
The Shaymen are the financial minnows in the race for the play-offs compared to the monetary muscle of Wrexham, Notts County and Chesterfield.
But Woods says Halifax have just as much quality as any of the teams around them.
“I see it as our group’s good enough to be competing, and you’ve seen that when we’ve played the top teams, Notts County home and away, Stockport where we dominated the game but didn’t quite get the result, Sutton, Torquay - there’s nothing to fear with this group,” he said.
“But when the chips are down and things aren’t quite going our way, we’ve fought through for each other throughout the season, so I back these boys to the hilt.
“I don’t see it as an over-achievement, I think the gaffer’s formed a really good group of players who, rightfully, are up there, and I’m actually a wee bit disappointed we’re not higher with certain performances this season, if we’d put our chances away and cut out daft errors.
“So going into these last three games, there’s absolutely nothing to fear.”
Town go into Saturday’s pivotal match at Dagenham and Redbridge having won four and lost four of their last eight games.
“I think now you just forget about the rest of the season because it’s now down to the nitty gritty time where you just put everything to bed and you focus on these three games and getting results,” Woods added. “Nothing else matters, it doesn’t matter that we could’ve done this or we could’ve done that, it’s just now getting everything put to bed and really focusing on the next three games, and trying to get positive results.
“I back us to do it, but that doesn’t come without our performance level getting lifted from Saturday just gone.
“We’ll be trying to put that right this Saturday, which I’m very hopeful we will.”