FC United boss Karl Marginson insists he’s more than happy to be taking the Rebels to in-form Bradford Park Avenue for tonight’s Evo-Stik Premier promotion play-off semi-final.
Marginson’s men missed the chance to secure a much easier-looking home tie with North Ferriby when surprisingly losing at home to Kendal in their final league outing on Easter Monday.
Having slipped two places to finish fourth, they must now travel to face a Bradford team which has reached the play-offs by winning eight successive games.
But the FC chief says he has no qualms about sending his side into battle at the Horsfall Stadium, even though it’s regularly been a graveyard for United in the past, with their last visit there back in September ending in a crushing 4-1 defeat.
Marginson said: “Of course we’d have liked to have clinched runners-up spot, but that’s now water under the bridge.
“We’ll go to Bradford believing not only we can beat them but also that we can go on to win at either Colwyn Bay or North Ferriby in the play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday.
“Considering where we were three months ago, it’s a fantastic achievement for us to even be in the play-offs and the lads deserve tremendous credit for having won 14 and drawn four of our last 20 games to get us here.
“Bradford are clearly a decent side and many people will now make them favourites but, with respect to them, they’re neither a Rochdale nor a Brighton and look at the results we achieved against those two in the FA Cup earlier this season.
“The fact we’re away doesn’t unduly concern me either as we’ll have huge support and our magnificent fans will make it feel like a home game for us.
“It’s all down to what happens on the night, but our experience of winning the UniBond North play-offs three years ago will stand us in good stead and I’m confident of reaching the final.”
With first-choice keeper Sam Ashton serving the final game of a three-match ban, FC will again have Grant Shenton deputising between the sticks.
Centre-half Karl Munroe also misses the tie through suspension, so Rebels stalwart Dave Chadwick will partner Scott McManus at the heart of the defence.
Meanwhile, FC’s fellow local non-League promotion hopefuls Curzon Ashton, who have already guaranteed their place in the Evo-Stik North play-offs for the fourth season running, tomorrow conclude their league campaign with a trip to Wakefield (3pm).
The outcome of this and Chorley’s game at Salford City will determine whether Curzon or Garry Flitcroft’s Magpies have home advantage when they meet in Monday’s semi-final.