"I love playing at home, I feed off the crowd" - Town defender Debrah on the play-offs, his season and home advantage

Jesse Debrah says the Town supporters will have a big part to play in the play-off eliminator against Chesterfield and says he will relish the occasion.

By Tom Scargill
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 8:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 8:49 am

Halifax will have home advantage for the game after finishing three places higher than Chesterfield, who they beat 2-0 at The Shay in April.

The winners will be away to Solihull in Sunday's semi-final.

The Shaymen should comfortably attract their biggest home crowd of the season for the match, and Debrah for one can't wait for what could be a special atmosphere.

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Jeese Debrah. Photo: Marcus Branston

"The fans play such a huge role, and you can see that in the results - I think we've won 17 out of the 22 we've played at home, and only conceded 11 goals in the 22 games," he said.

"The fans do play a big part. Those times when it's hard during a game, they push you through, they drive you through, they give you that extra ten per cent.

"Personally I love playing at home, I feed off the crowd, I love it, I love the excitement, I love the shouting at the referee, I love the urging the players on, it just makes it that bit more special playing at home.

"The more the better, create a real atmosphere down there.

"I feel like this season we've thrived off it, I'm looking forward to it."

Town's season will be over if they lose, while a win will put them just one more game away from the play-off final.

But Debrah is focused on playing the game and not the occasion.

"Honestly, from my perspective, it's just another game," he said.

"It is a big game but you have to treat it like another game, it's another 90 minutes, nothing we haven't done before. You have to normalise the situation.

"It's 90, or 120, minutes between us and the next round.

"I think there's a bit of nerves before every game but nerves make you sharp, if you use them in the right way, but I feel like we go in with confidence. A couple of nerves, but confidence, that we can win."

Debrah has had a meteoric rise this season from back-up centre-half to one of the first names on the team-sheet, and looks set to be a guaranteed starter against Chesterfield.

"I feel blessed," he said. "I was third choice behind Naz (Niall Maher) and Tom (Bradbury), both really good players, and I had to be patient for my chance, and learn.

"A lot of work was done on the training pitch with the coaches, and thankfully when I got my chance I feel like I've taken it.

"And just having a run of games, they help so much as a player because it almost becomes automatic when you have that run of games as a player, you build confidence and match fitness.

"I just feel blessed the gaffer's given me the opportunity to play and I'm thankful I've taken it."

Debrah says the Town squad are in a good place ahead of the game.

"We're feeling good, we're feeling confident, it's been a very successful season so far, but we know the work's not done," he said.

"We're preparing for this game like any other game and we're going into it with confidence.

"We believe in the system that the gaffer, Milly and Sarg have put in place, we have an identity, we know the way we play and we'll try to implement that tomorrow to the best of our ability.

"That gives us our confidence, knowing we have things put in place and it's been successful this season.

"Towards the last five or ten games it gets a bit scrappy for the final play-off places and winning the league, but we know this is a one-off game and if we're us, anything can happen and we can win.

"We're just preparing like any other game but we go in full of confidence."

It has been a remarkable season for Debrah, who impressed on trial during pre-season, and now has the chance to cap his breakthrough campaign by helping The Shaymen seal promotion.

When asked if he felt ready for the match, Debrah said: "We all do, we know it's a big game, we know that we've worked really hard this season but everybody's desperate to do well because it's been a long, hard season and we want to give something back to the supporters and the club, we want to put on a show, we want to go as far as we can and win it ultimately.

"We are confident we can go all the way but it's been our mantra this season to take it one game at a time, and I don't think anything changes.

"We've got Chesterfield in-front of us, we have to respect them, it's going to be a tough game, a tight game, between two good sides.

"We have to go in fully focused on this game and only this game, because if you look too far ahead you can miss the opportunity of the present."