Aaron Pride, Belper Town''Photo by Tim Harrison
Aaron Pride, Belper Town''Photo by Tim Harrison

Belper Town go into tonight’s (Wednesday) eagerly-awaited play-off semi-final at Leek Town looking to go at least one better than last season, when they lost at the same stage.

Their winning run finally came to an end on Saturday when they lost 2-0 at home champions Halesowen Town but the focus is fully on the task in hand tonight.

Manager Peter Duffield, who has a win percentage of 58 per cent over the last two seasons, praised Halesowen for their achievements and was pleased with his side’s performance.

“Halesowen accumulated the most points and deserved to win the league. Congratulations to John Hill, his staff and his players, they thoroughly deserved it.”

He noted: “I thought we played well, we hit the bar early and had genuine penalty shouts, and showed once again that we were very competitive. On another day, we would have won that game.”

Duffield swiftly moved on to place his thoughts entirely on the game against Leek, and is looking forward to what promises to be a great occasion. “It’ll be a very good match, with a great atmosphere and it’ll be very difficult for us as Leek are a very good side who are difficult to beat.

“I’ve got a lot of time for Lee Casswell and his staff. We need to be on our ‘A Game’, and if we can do that, we’ll be just fine. This is knockout football now, the previous league games between the two sides means nothing and the team who plays the best on the day should win the match.

“One thing that is for sure is that we will give everything we’ve got and I am very confident and excited going in to the game.”

Striker Jon Froggatt had picked up another personal accolade before the match kicked off, winning the supporters player of the year award. The Nailers number nine has scored 39 goals in all competitions this season, and feels confident he can add to his tally against Leek Town.

“With all the players I’ve got around me, I’m always confident I can score. The management staff have assembled a really good squad and on our day we can beat anybody. I’d like to thank all the supporters for their votes, it makes me very proud and their support has been fantastic for me from day one at this football club.”

Captain Steve Warne has urged his teammates to forget about the result on Saturday going into the showdown against Leek.

“We lost the game on Saturday but we played very well, and should have probably been one up at half-time.

“We’ve produced so many good performances this season that we’re very confident going into the game on Wednesday and we’re all looking forward to it.”

Make sure you show your support for the Nailers in their quest to succeed through the play-offs tonight. Their game kicks off tonight at 7.45pm at Leek Town.