OSSETT Albion manager Phil Thompson believes his side can surpass their pre-season target of just avoiding a relegation scrap following their successful FA Cup run.
The Evo-Stik Division 1 North club missed out on a lucrative trip to npower League One side Doncaster Rovers in the First Round Proper of the competition when they lost 4-1 at Blue Square Bet North side Bradford Park Avenue in the final qualifying round on Saturday.
The result brought disappointment for Thompson, his squad and Albion staff, especially after Sunday’s First Round draw when Park Avenue were drawn at Rovers.
But the Dimple Wells club can look back on an encouraging and money-spinning run in the competition that stretched five matches and Thompson is confident their cup success can spill over into the league.
“At the start of the season our targets were to survive in this division, have a good cup run and get a few extra fans in,” said Thompson.
“We’ve had that good cup run and we are seeing more people come through the gates.
“Last night [Tuesday] we sat down and re-assesed those targets and I think we’re more than capable of being around mid-table or the top half of the table by Christmas, and maybe even within touching distance of the play-offs.”
The assessment came just days after Albion had pushed a Bradford side two divisions above them, and with a much bigger playing budget, all the way in the FA Cup.
Thompson’s men started well enough, holding their hosts for the first half-hour before Tom Corner headed the visitors into a shock lead from an Adam Hayton free-kick.
Their lead lasted barely two minutes, however, as James Knowles levelled for John Deacey’s men.
Alex Davidson gave the hosts a 55th minute lead after Albion had surrendered possession easily but Albion were still in it until six minutes from time when Tyrone Gay scored an own goal and Davidson added his second in the 90th minute to make the scoreline a flattering one for the hosts.
“It was a flattering scoreline but not a flattering result,” Thompson admitted after the game.
“We went in all square at half-time and we actually played better in the second half.
“I told the lads at half-time that some of them weren’t performing and they didn’t want to leave with any regrets and, despite the scoreline, they didn’t.
“They gave their all and that’s all I can ask. We gave a good account of ourselves and if only we could have held on to our lead for a little longer then who knows what might have happened.
“It’s been a great run for the club and one we can look back on with pride.”
Albion’s attentions turned straight to climbing up the Division 1 North table on Tuesday night with a visit to Garforth Town.
Corner gave them a third minute lead but Albion had to come from behind to leave with all three points after Fernando Moke scored twice for the hosts before half-time.
Kurtis Noble levelled in the 68th minute and Marc Thompson hit the third four minutes from time before Joe Fox completed the scoring.
Former Grimsby Town forward Corner has been in good form since his switch to Dimple Wells and Thompson says he’s attracting the interest of higher-division clubs, with one believed to be League Two side Fleetwood Town.
He said: “We’ll wait and see what comes of the interest.”
Corner will miss Saturday’s home game against Bamber Bridge (kick-off 3pm) as will Aaron Guiry, who is out with a knee injury, Joe Fox and Tyrone Gay.
Ossett Town visit Burscough in the FA Trophy Second Qualifying Round while Wakefield FC make the short trip to Garforth Town in Division 1 North (both kick-off at 3pm).
See this week’s Wakefield Express for all the latest football news from around the district.