"We've come a long way as a group" - Shaymen boss Wild on Town, Chesterfield and the play-offs

Town boss Pete Wild says The Shaymen have as good a chance as anybody in the play-offs as they prepare to host Chesterfield on Tuesday night.

By Tom Scargill
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 9:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 9:07 am

Wild says he hopes to have injured trio Kieran Green, Tom Bradbury and Luke Summerfield available for the game, while Kian Spence and Martin Woods, who both went off with knocks in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Stockport, will be assessed.

The squad were due to return to training tomorrow (Thursday) having been given the start of the week off.

"I'm excited, I'm hopeful of having a few more bodies back," said Wild.

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Pete Wild. Photo: Marcus Branston

"On review of Sunday, when we come up against the best teams in the league we need to be at full strength and full tilt.

"I think it exposed us on Sunday that the quality they had, we didn't match it.

"I'm hoping for a few players back ready for the play-offs and we go into it excited, especially with the first game being at home."

Town will be away to Solihull on Sunday next week if they beat Chesterfield, and would then be in the final on Sunday, June 5 if they beat Solihull.

On how he rates Town's chances in the play-offs, Wild said: "As good as anybody's.

"It will all be determined on who turns up on the night, and we'll take each game as it comes and see how we do in each game if we're lucky enough to get through.

"But we're only focusing on Chesterfield and we want to give the best version of ourselves against them."

When asked what his message to the players will be ahead of the game, Wild said: "Enjoy it, and go and be the best version of us."

Reflecting on Town's season in the National League, Wild said: "The season's over now, we deserved to finish fourth in the league and we're very pleased and happy with where we finished.

"Now it's like a new league, it's tournament football, it's knockout football.

"We're in great shape, across the season we've been in great form so we've got to use that as our driver going into the play-offs.

"We've got a lot of players who have been at other clubs and it's not worked out for them, or young players who are desperate to get a foot on the ladder, and we've successfully moulded them into an exciting football team that's done really well.

"We've come a long way as a group, and I've been very pleased at how the group's moulded together and developed across the season."

This will be the second time Wild has led Town into the play-offs, with The Shaymen losing at Boreham Wood at this stage in 2020.

"That was completely different because we'd not played for four or five months," Wild said.

"But in terms of how I approach things and what the players need to know emotionally, tactically, technically I've learned two or three things that will hopefully help us in this campaign.

"I've been and spoken to managers in the Football League, had lunch with them, who've been in the play-offs about what they've experienced and I've tried to make sure I'm fully prepared for what we'll need to be going into the play-offs.

"Leading up to it we'll try and keep it as normal as possible, but ultimately we all know that winner takes all now, it's knockout football.

"There's six teams left in it and we know one of them can be promoted to the Football League. We want to be that one."

Chesterfield go into the game having lost three of their last four games, and having only won two of their last ten.

"Regardless of the form they're in, they're an excellent side and they've got some top players," Wild said.

"If they turn up on the day they've got the ability to really hurt us.

"If you look at the game at home, it was very nip-and-tuck, there wasn't a lot in it.

"It took us until late on to get the goals we wanted.

"I expect the same sort of game, the same sort of problems they caused us on Easter Monday and a similar type of game."

Town took four points off The Spireites this season, including a 2-0 win at The Shay in April.

"I don't think it matters," said Wild. "The season's over now, different league, different mentality and we've just got to turn up on the night, give the best account of ourselves and hope the rest takes care of itself.

"Both teams have a distinct way of playing, and it'll be who can impose their model and their game-plan better on each other.

"You've got things like set-pieces that come into it, players managing the occasion and the stakes that come with it.

"And it'll be the ones who take their chances. Chesterfield had quite a few chances at our place and so did we, but we took ours and they didn't take theirs."

Town should get their biggest crowd of the season for the match, and Wild says the supporters will have a "massive" part to play on the night.

"The fans have been huge," he said.

"We haven't just won 17 games at home for no reason, the fans have got behind us, supported us all the way.

"And in those moments where it will be nervy on Tuesday we're going to need them, we're going to need them in abundance.

"They want to see success, and I want them to come and drive the team to that success, and stick with us through the bumps in the road that we'll come to through any 90 minutes of football."