It’s half time in the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Semi-Finals, with Salford City holding a 1-0 advantage over Stockport County and Bradford City 1-0 up against Carlisle United heading into the second legs.
Here’s what the managers had to say…
Dave Challinor (Stockport County)
“There are plenty of positives”
“We would love to be level or in front but we’re not, so we know exactly what we need to do now. You come into these games a little bit into the unknown because there are players out there from our perspective who, because we’ve got experienced players missing, haven’t played in a game of this type before.
“I think that showed in the first 10 minutes when we were very much rabbit in the headlights and it took us a little bit of time to get going. Then we got an opportunity, hit the bar and two minutes later they go up the other end and score what is the decisive goal.
“But there are plenty of positives. In the second half, when we were able to be a bit more adventurous in terms of our shape and the personnel we had on the pitch, we opened the game up a bit more and we had situations where we have to be better with our quality and belief in what we are doing.”
Neil Wood (Salford City)
“We’ve ground out some big results”
“I guess I’m pleased with a 1-0, although it probably could and should have been more than that. We had two or three other good chances which we should have stuck away, so it’s possibly a bit frustrating we didn’t capitalise a bit more. I’m pleased with the way we played, but it certainly won’t be an easy task for us.
“We’re looking forward to it and the lads definitely won’t be phased by playing in front of a big crowd over there. We’ve still got a job to do, but this team is learning all the time and we’ll go to Stockport with no fear.
“We’ll take on the second leg in the same attacking way we have done throughout the season. We’ve been consistent all the way through and we’ve ground out some big results when we’ve needed to.”
Paul Simpson (Carlisle United)
“There’s no signal as to what’s going to come”
“If I look back at the game I know we need to start better, to deal with the emotion of the occasion better than we did at the start of last Sunday’s game. I know we need to be more competitive than we were in early parts of the game.
“The biggest thing is keeping them calm this week so, come Saturday, they’re ready to go flying out of the traps ready to give it our best shot. The ability is certainly there. No doubt about that. The desire is certainly there. The energy levels are there. It’s a game we have just got to go out and do properly.
“There’s no signal as to what’s going to come. And we probably need to give Bradford a bit of credit for the way they started – they were front foot, got in our faces, and maybe went a bit more direct than we expected them to be, which is how they got the goal and couple of opportunities.”
Mark Hughes (Bradford City)
“You have just got to keep a clear head”
“We are going to need guys with that experience and clear minds; guys that don’t get wrapped up in the emotion of it. You have just got to keep a clear head and make sure you do the right things under pressure. If you do that and think clearly, and you don’t have the throwing teacups scenario, you have got a chance.
“It was a huge effort from the guys, to navigate yourself through 46 games and then go again. We are in good nick at the moment and have good recovery strategies for what we do. We do that correctly and get people out so we can go again.
“You have just got to get your head on things and bodies in line with balls. See things off and see things out to a good conclusion for your team and team-mates.”