United the team to beat - Welsh

Shiraz Khan in action for Ossett United against AFC Fylde
Shiraz Khan in action for Ossett United against AFC Fylde

OSSETT UNITED boss Andy Welsh feels that his side will be the team that every club wants to beat this season.

United are preparing for their first-ever campaign in the Evo-Stik East Division following a merger between Ossett Albion and Ossett Town earlier this year.

The 34-year-old coach insists that his side won’t get any easy points this coming campaign.

Welsh’s men face a Leeds United XI this weekend and the United chief is hopeful that games against higher-ranking opposition will help draw more supporters to Ossett.

“One of the things that myself and Paul Quinn [assistant manager] have spoken about with the owners and with Phil Smith, the chief executive, is that without doubt it is going to be an exciting season but we are going to be the team to beat,” said Welsh.

“I spoke more to the players about us being the team to beat rather than saying we are going to win this and that.

“Your expectations have got to be in line with how well the team are playing, how hard they are working, there are so many factors to winning a league and to winning promotion.

“We do have to remember that it is the first season, we also have to remember that just because we are brand new and that everyone is getting behind us – it doesn’t give us a God-given right to win anything.

“You have got to earn it, you have got to earn respect and you have got to earn everything in football.

“I think it is important now that we try and engage with the fans and the locals to try and get them behind us. Trying to pull in a few bigger games like the Leeds game and the Fylde game [last week], they are two big games for the club.

“We want people to say, ‘we want to be part of this supporters club for the coming season and get behind this team.’”

The former Sunderland FC star is wanting his side to develop an “aggressive” style of play before they kick off the new season in mid-August.

He continued: “I think, for me, the last 15 games at Ossett Albion were very exciting, there were lots of goals and we were playing very attractive football.

“And that’s one thing, from my playing career, and also at this level - looking at this level and studying this level in depth - the more that we threaten the opposition’s goal and get into their final third the better it will be for us and for the fans.

“The style of play that we want, is to be is very aggressive with and without the ball and that is what you need at not just this level but at any level.”

On Saturday afternoon, Ossett played their first-ever home game as they drew 1-1 with National League outfit AFC Fylde.