FC Halifax Town v Chorley: Skipper keen to make amends for last season’s relegation

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Curzon Ashton, at the MBI Shay Stadium. Kevin Roberts
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Curzon Ashton, at the MBI Shay Stadium. Kevin Roberts

Town captain Kevin Roberts says he is still motivated by last season’s relegation ahead of Halifax’s play-off final on Saturday.

The skipper is one of only seven members of the first-team squad left over from Halifax’s disastrous league campaign last season.

Halifax went on to win the FA Trophy three weeks later, but Roberts, who helped Cambridge to play-off final success in their 2-1 win at Wembley over Gateshead in 2014, believes that relegation won’t be eradicated unless promotion is achieved.

“If we win it would be up there with winning at Wembley,” he said. “It’s not about me, it’s about us all doing our jobs and getting the right result.

“We’ll all get to lift the trophy so it doesn’t matter who does it first.

“On a personal note I’d just love to do it for the club because we shouldn’t have got relegated last year.

“Winning the FA Trophy was a bit of a repayment for the fans but it wasn’t enough. We need to get back up to properly repay them.

“We were aiming for the play-offs at the start of last season and ended up getting relegated.

“When I signed my new contract last summer I said the aim was to get us back into the Conference and now we’re one game away from that.”

Asked if he would have taken the scenario of having to beat Chorley at home to gain promotion at the start of the season, Roberts said “100 per cent. You can’t guarantee anything - one one team goes up automatically in this league so I’d have bitten your hand off.

“I’m surprised to be playing Chorley after the first-leg of their semi-final, but not majorly surprised because Chorley have a very good side and they’re difficult to play against.

“They’re more than capable or they wouldn’t have finished where they did.. I thought Kidderminster would have got the job done though because they’re a very good team.

“But the fact that Chorley went there and won will keep us on our toes. “Kidderminster is one of the toughest places to go in the league so it does show that although there is a slight advantage to playing at home, it’s not necessarily a big thing.”

Roberts is confident The Shaymen possess enough experience to cope with the pressure of a play-off final.

“There will be a few nerves but we showed in the semi-final that we didn’t panic too much at any point,” he added.

“Both games were really tight but even when Salford scored in the second-leg we didn’t panic and we started putting them back under pressure again.

“I thought we coped really well throughout the semi-final.

“From our point of view, it does help that we’ve got experience of these games in our squad.

“I don’t know Chorley’s players too well, but they could have a lot of players who have that experience as well.

“But against Salford, we only really had Matty Kosylo and Jordan Sinnott who hadn’t played in the play-offs before, so that does help.

“You still get nervous but not to the point of being unbelievably nervous, which can happen.

“But it’s not just about nerves, it’s about how you manage the game, and not panicking if you go behind.”