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Halford wants Bucks to play for pride and momentum

Steve Halford wants to see Buxton get some strong momentum going.
Steve Halford wants to see Buxton get some strong momentum going.

Buxton joint-manager Steve Halford says personal pride and putting on a show for the fans should be the priority for his players as the season enters its final stages.

Halford and Paul Phillips have gone four games unbeaten since arriving at the Silverlands, with 13 games still to play before the season is out.

But with no danger of relegation and only a remarkable winning streak likely to see Buxton challenge for a play-off spot, Halford is calling on the squad to not lose focus.

He said: “It comes down to personal pride as much as anything. On paper, this squad shouldn’t be where it is and it’s up to the lads to prove that.

“But they have their futures to play for too, whether it’s going to be here or with another club next season. It’s up to them to show us or other clubs that they’re good enough to be at this level or higher.

“The fans deserve a strong finish too. It’s been a tricky season for them and they want to see some consistency between now and the end of the season which in turn will hopefully build some positive momentum going into the new campaign in August.”

Halford admitted that he and Phillips will be doing plenty of tweaking between now and the end of the season to assess what works best, given the nature of the time remaining.

He said: “It’s a bit like an extended pre-season in a sense in that we can tinker with things a bit and see what works, but we’re very keen to get points on the board too.

“I actually think that if we had this number of games left but with only one or two played each week, we’d have had a bit of a shout at getting a top five place, but we’ll be playing three or four games a week which could prove tough on the legs.

“So we’ll see how things go and see what works well and what doesn’t in an attempt to be more prepared once pre-season comes around.”

Last Thursday saw the Bucks beat Halford and Phillips’ former club Ashton United 1-0 before a 2-2 draw with Hednesford two days later.

They now prepare to head to Marine on Saturday before the local derby with managerless Matlock Town on Easter Monday and then a trip to face Hednesford again on Thursday, March 29.

Halford said: “We beat a very good side in Ashton which was pleasing, but then we were disappointed not to have beaten Hednesford and with the nature of the goals conceded, but it says a lot for the lads we’ve got here that they were disappointed and not just shrugging it off.

“Marine are also on a good run and obviously the local derby with Matlock will be a great occasion as always. Both games will be tough for different reasons but we’ve already shown we are more than a match for anyone.”