Matt Jansen has urged his Chorley team to play without fear this evening when they welcome Kidderminster Harriers to Victory Park (kick-off 7-45pm).
The Magpies take on John Eustace’s men in the first leg of their National League North play-off semi-final and Jansen believes all the pressure will be on their opponents. A former Football League club who still operate on a full-time basis, Kiddy –who finished runners-up to eventual champions AFC Fylde – will be desperate to earn promotion.
Jansen reckons that could play into the hands of his team, who have exceeded expectations by reaching the play-offs despite having one of the smallest budgets in the division.
They will also draw confidence from the fact that they collected four points off Kiddy during the normal season.
Jansen said: “We will be the underdogs. We were the underdogs at the start of the season.
“Our remit was to compete, but we have done more than that this season and now we are in the play-offs. It doesn’t matter who we would be playing, we would be the underdogs.
“There is less pressure, we’re not expected to win so we go into the game with no fear. We can go and enjoy ourselves.”
The second leg of the semi-final at Kiddy’s Aggborough home will take place on Sunday (kick-off is 3pm).
Jansen does have a few injury concerns ahead of this evening’s encounter.
Former Manchester City and Burnley defender Stephen Jordan is unlikely to be fit for although could come back into contention for Sunday.
Goalkeeper Ritchie Branagan also faces a fitness test after missing the past two games through injury.
Nuneaton loan man Christian Dibble has deputised for the Magpies No.1 and Jansen would have no qualms in playing the 22-year-old this evening if Branagan is unavailable once more.
One player who will not feature in either leg is striker Jack Sampson. He is serving a three-match suspension, but will be available should Chorley reach the final.