Wilson out to avoid repeat failure

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Danny Wilson, the Bristol City manager, is convinced that last season's disappointment at missing out on promotion to the First Division through the play-offs will spur his side on this time.

Danny Wilson, the Bristol City manager, is convinced that last season's disappointment at missing out on promotion to the First Division through the play-offs will spur his side on this time.

City meet Hartlepool in the first leg of their Second Division play-off semi-final at Victoria Park today knowing that they fell at the same stage to Cardiff last year. Wilson said: "Other than us being odds-on favourites I don't think there's a great deal of difference between this year and last year.

"Yes, the core of players are the same," he added, "but that doesn't make the task any easier. Last season's disappointment wasn't an enjoyable experience, but hopefully that will serve as an incentive to make sure we don't go through those emotions again.

"We have to be confident. We went up there and beat them 2-1 earlier this season."

Neale Cooper, the Hartlepool manager, opted for an experienced line-up for their last game against Swindon and may do the same for the visit of City. He believes the pressure is all on City, who just missed out on automatic promotion.

"This achievement is up there with some of the major things I have done in football," Cooper said. "At the start of the season I arrived here and didn't know a soul. I walked in the door and everyone said we were favourites to go straight back down. Instead the players have done so much for me and Scotty [assistant manager Martin Scott]."

Tomorrow, Brighton travel to Swindon and the Seagulls' youth coach, Dean Wilkins, believes the play-offs could see some of the club's younger players come of age. "They [defenders Adam Virgo and Dan Harding] just need to stick in there as this will be a massive learning curve," Wilkins said.

However, Swindon have seen their injury problems ease recently with Tommy Mooney, Matt Heywood and Stefani Miglioranzi all likely to return to the team for the game at the County Ground.

In the Third Division play-offs, the Lincoln City chairman, Rob Bradley, believes "extra determination" and "cool professionalism" will help his side go one better than last season's play-off final defeat against Bournemouth.

"There was a real feeling of euphoria 12 months ago because the club had gone from the brink of extinction and ended up defying all the pundits by getting to the Millennium Stadium," Bradley said. "This time around, although there is clearly still a lot of excitement and anticipation, there is also that extra sense of determination and cool professionalism that shows we want to meet the challenge and go one step further."

Lincoln entertain Huddersfield today, while in the first leg of the other play-off semi-final Northampton face Mansfield at Sixfields tomorrow. The veteran Northampton striker John Taylor, who turns 40 in October, will hang up his boots after the play-offs following 22 years in the game. "With three games to go it looks like I could end my professional career at the Millennium Stadium, which would be fantastic," Taylor said.

Comments