Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Preview: Duff on play-off semi-final first leg

16 June 2020


Preview: Duff on play-off semi-final first leg

16 June 2020

Sponsored by

Michael Duff has been speaking to the media today to preview Thursday's League Two play-off semi-final first leg match at Northampton Town.

Over three months since his side were last in competitive action they take to the field again for the first of two semi-final ties with a robust Northampton outfit standing in the way.

Duff and his management staff have been preparing the players for the play-off matches since they returned to training on Monday 1 June following the curtailment of the regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has been pleased with what he's seen from his team as they work towards Thursday's first leg in the time they've had available to prepare for the biggest matches this season.

"I'm sure the other three teams are saying exactly the same. It's been a long hard season and finish the job that you've started - that's what we'll all be trying to do," Duff said.

"The last week to 10 days has been particularly good. There are people carrying niggles. We'll have to assess where certain people are. Different people come back at different levels of fitness just because they're 25 different human beings. As a general rule we've been really happy with them.

"We played Cardiff last Tuesday. We only had four or five training days of which the first couple were in pods. We hadn't done any work on patterns or shape and actually played some really good football.

"It just goes to show you they don't forget. It's been more the mentality than the physicality we've been trying to get into them because it almost has been a microwave pre-season.

"We will need everyone. I can't imagine both teams will look the same for the second leg for many different reasons."

Duff has been keen to focus on the psychological side of his team's upcoming matches. As well as Northampton, Exeter City and Colchester United are the other sides involved in the play-offs, with all four clubs competing for just the one spot to join Swindon Town, Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle in League One next season.

"When you speak to people at the Championship and Premier League clubs they probably can have a couple of off days because they've still got quarter of a season to play," Duff added.

"These are two-off games. If you don't turn up for one of them that's your season done. We'll all be trying our best.

"They won't be coming away too much from what they do and we won't come away too much from what we do. We've both had successful seasons - that's why we're playing each other in the play-offs.

"They are a difficult team. The two games we've had have been really close affairs. We'll just be trying to do ourselves justice.

"The last thing I want is to finish the game and go 'well it wasn't fair'. That doesn't matter. All four teams are in exactly the same situation so that's the key."

Watch the full virtual press conference with Duff looking ahead to Thursday's first leg at the top of the page.

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account