Securing play-off place is primary focus for Ossett United, says head coach Andy Welsh

Ossett United need just four points from their remaining three league games to secure a place in the Evo-Stik East promotion play-offs.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 3:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 4:19 pm
Ossett United manager Andy Welsh. PIC: John Hirst.

United currently sit in third spot, meaning a home semi-final play-off tie, but are level on points with fourth-placed Brighouse Town and fifth-placed Sheffield FC.

Tadcaster Albion are cut adrift in sixth and must win at least two of their remaining three games to have any chance of breaking into the top five.

Ossett face two testing fixtures in just three days, starting with a trip to Belper Town on Saturday before welcoming second-placed Pontefract Collieries to Ingfield on Easter Monday.

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Tom Greaves scored a hat-trick against Markse United on Saturday. PIC: John Hirst.

A second or third-placed finish would give Ossett a home tie in the play-off semi-finals but manager Andy Welsh insists that competing in the play-offs is the first target.

"It is more important to make sure we get through to the play-off stages," said Welsh.

"To get promoted and to win trophies you are going to have to go to places that are going to be difficult.

"For me, Quinny [assistant coach Paul Quinn] and the lads, the main aim now is getting in the play-offs.

Shiraz Khan in action against Marske last Saturday. PIC: John Hirst.

"If we get a home tie we get a home tie or if we get an away tie we get an away tie, it is just about making sure we get there first really."

United's fine run of form in recent months has rocketed them into contention for promotion into the Evo-Stik Premier.

And Welsh admits that taking things one game at a time has paid dividends for his side.

He continued: "It is an old cliche, but we have just been taking each game as it comes.

"We haven't been getting too high when we win or too low when we don't get a result.

"Credit to the lads, I think since the start of the year they have been immense.

"It is hard at this level. But one thing I know I have got in my dressing room is a lot of winners.

"And we have a lot of people who dedicate, not just the training and game hours, but time outside to make sure they are in tip-top condition."

Welsh believes that this season has already been a "huge success" for Ossett United.

The Ingfield club has lifted their first-ever trophy since forming last year, beating Guiseley AFC 2-1 in the West Riding County Cup final last week.

The former Sunderland player is expecting a tough test when they visit Belper on Saturday, who Town shared the spoils with in a 3-3 draw in September.

"To win the first-ever cup for the club, it made me immensely proud," added Welsh.

"And we can still reach the play-offs but I think this season has already been a huge success, on and off the field.

"Belper is going to be a really, really tough game.

"I think most of the teams we have played this year have certainly raised their game against us.

"But it is about what we do. If we want to be successful during the season you are going to have to go to tough places and perform."

Welsh heaped praise on his players after they saw off Marske United 4-0 on Saturday.

The United manager was wary of a potential cup hangover but said his players were "different class."

He said: "I was immensely proud of the performance on Saturday.

"For the players to play like they did last Tuesday and then to score four goals on the Saturday, they were different class."