What managers of Wrexham, Solihull Moors, FC Halifax Town, Notts County, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield have said ahead of National League play-offs

After nine months and 44 matches, the regular National League season is over and the play-offs begin.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 4:18 pm
Chesterfield boss Paul Cook
Chesterfield boss Paul Cook

Wrexham and Solihull Moors advance straight into the semi-finals after finishing second and third respectively.

FC Halifax Town, Notts County, Grimsby Town and Chesterfield will battle it out in the elimination round.

One team still has a cup final to play, another has lost one of their last 23 in the league, another manager says his players are tired, another is being linked with a League One job and, as we know, one team is in very poor form.

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FC Halifax Town. Photo: Marcus Branston

Here’s what each manager of the play-off teams has said…


The Red Dragons finished second after missing out on winning the title on the last day of the season.

They advance straight into the play-off semi-finals and will host the winner of Notts County and Grimsby Town.

Notts County boss Ian Burchnall

Phil Parkinson’s men are also in the FA Trophy final against Bromley on Sunday at Wembley.

"We are ready to finish the season in style,” Parkinson said.

"We have got some really big games coming up now. We have got a terrific one next weekend and then we go into the play-offs.

"We wanted top spot but the next best thing was second and that is what we have achieved.

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson

"We have clawed back a lot of points in the last few months but it was not to be.

"With the way the play-offs are structured it was crucial to finish second or third and we have managed to do that.”


The Moors clinched the other semi-final spot with a third-placed finish.

They go into the play-offs as the in-form team, having lost just once in their last 23 league matches and having won all of their last five.

Neal Ardley’s side have lost the fewest amount of matches (seven) all season and have scored three or more goals in all of their previous four fixtures.

They will host the winner of Halifax and Chesterfield.

"These boys are just relentless,” Ardley said.

"They need two high performances now and results that follow them and who knows, they could write some history.

"I can’t say enough good things about this group. There is a team spirit that I have never seen before or never managed before and a quality in there which I would like to think that other teams won’t want to face us.

"Let’s just go in with no expectation, have a crack and see what happens.”


The Shaymen finished fourth and will host Chesterfield in the elimination round on Tuesday, May 24.

Halifax might be a tad disappointed that they did not finish third but they will take heart from the fact that they have the best home record in the league.

"We're looking forward to the game," Pete Wild has said.

"The players will have three days off to go and switch off.

"I think that's important, it's been a long season, we're all tired.

"We're at that stage in the season where we need to make sure that we've got some fit bodies.

"It's important they go away now and relax, switch off and then come back in Thursday morning and the plan will start for Chesterfield."


The Magpies will entertain Grimsby Town at Meadow Lane in the other elimination tie.

Notts finished fifth for the second successive season.

They ended the campaign with three straight wins and clinched fifth spot with a 1-0 success at Maidenhead United.

"It was really important (to secure the home tie) because we have been excellent at home all season,” Ian Burchnall said.

"We are really happy, 82 points as a return for the season is really good.

"I think the league has been high quality this year, I think it has been a step up from what it was last year.”

On being linked with the Forest Green Rovers vacancy, Burchnall added: “I have not heard anything, I am just focused on what I am doing here. My only interest is to try and get this team promoted. I just take it as credit for the work we are doing. I have not even thought about it.”


The Mariners went into the last day of the season with a slim chance of finishing fifth but they needed a six-goal swing in their favour.

In the end, they finished sixth after an entertaining 4-4 draw away at Eastleigh.

They now head to Meadow Lane.

On facing Notts, manager Paul Hurst said: “We have both had a win a piece against each other.

"It is a pressure game for both teams and you have got to be able to deal with that.

"Sometimes when it is a home crowd and it is a big crowd and it is not going your way it can get a bit edgy and that can transmit onto the players.

"Whatever happens now I think it has been a good season, I think we have come quite a long way since I have been back at the club.”


The Spireites got the point they needed to clinch a play-off spot with a goalless draw at home to Woking.

Town now visit Halifax on Tuesday, May 24.

"At the minute we know we are not the best team in the play-offs, but there is no reason why we can’t win the play-offs,” Paul Cook said.

"We are not playing well, it is there for everyone to see.

"But the point is we have got in the play-offs and that is an achievement.

"Anything can happen now, we travel to Halifax in a really good game, it will be a great night."