Southport manager Liam Watson makes playoff admission as Port face ’13 cup finals’

Southport celebrate vs Hereford

Southport manager Liam Watson says they’re treating their run as 13 cup finals as their quest for the playoffs continues.

The stalemate against Brackley kept Port in sixth as they face a trip to fifth-placed Chorley where they will go head-to-head with former talisman Jack Sampson.

York City sit two points behind the Yellows with the gap behind fourth-placed Fylde at four points in the playoff run-in.

In midweek they secured their place in the Lancashire Cup final thanks to goals from Adam Anson and Jack Doyle put them through to their first final in three years as they came from behind to be the Northern Premier League side.

He told Off The Park: “I think we were good up until the sending off then we lost our way a bit. You’ve got to give credit to Brackley, they are where they are for a reason, you can see knowhow all over the pitch and probably it would’ve been a game, had it been the other way around, Brackley would’ve won with their experience. We hung in, you’d of took a point before the game all day long so it’s another result. 

“Whoever scored the first goal was going to win, it’s been like that in the last few years when we’ve played them, the games have always been very tight. We’ve had two 0-0s and we won 1-0 on a pen, not easy, tough encounters. All their players have been there seen it done it. 

“The substitution taking Josh Hmami off was difficult but I had no choice, he’s been out a while and he’s a really important player for us. 

“We’ve done enough to get through to the next round, all credit to Lancaster they made it difficult – which we knew they would – good people, staff, players.

“They’re having a bad time with injuries themselves, players done what they had to do, was it a great performance, no. Do we need to better? Yes, we’re in a final so we just take that and move on.”

Connor Woods hasn’t hit the heights that he reached prior to his injury but spell of seven weeks on the sideline has seen the 24-year-old out of form, but Watson is confident that he will be back to his best and the difficult run happens when you play an important role in the squad.

He added: “Connor’s not in the best of form but that sometimes happens when you’ve come back from injury, especially the type of player he is. When you’re not in the best of form, you’ve got to get your head down and work and it’ll come back.

“Yeah [form will turn] you don’t lose your ability over night. He was in the best form he’s ever been in then he was out for seven weeks it’s not easy to come back.

“.It’s probably the first time he’s had an injury. It’s difficult but just got to keep plugging away, he was involved in the equaliser [against Lancaster] that will give him a boost, just see what he’s made of, easy to get a pat on the back all the time but sometimes you get to the stage where you’re an important player, when you’re a kid you can get by with not playing well but when you become an important player the pressure is on you to deliver. It’s all part of the learning curve. 

“Niall’s coming back from a hamstring, not ideal when you rely on pace. He got an hour in a friendly, 70 minutes the other night. The most important thing is getting over the injury then hopefully we makes a good impact in the run-in.  

“It’s another big game, they’re all big games now. Where you are games become important, you’ve got to manage the expectation, treat every game like a cup final.

“You don’t win every cup final but you try not to lose any, try your best not to lose – that’s not negative playing for a draw – treat them like a cup final. If you have 13 cup finals you’d think you’d win at least four or five.”

[Featured image: Julia Urwin – Southport FC]

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