Adam Lakeland is spurred on by Farsley Celtic’s FA Trophy exploits

JUST four days after beating Altrincham in an exciting FA Trophy replay which secured a home tie against Barnet, Farsley Celtic will host Leamington at Throstle Nest tomorrow.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 6:00 am
Farsley Celtic manager Adam Lakeland.

And Farsley manager Adam Lakeland believes beating a side like Altrincham in the manner they did was a huge result which will stand them in good stead for the rest of the season.

“I’m delighted,” said Lakeland looking back on Tuesday’s 2-1 first-round replay victory. “We should have won the game on Saturday, we were the better team and had the better chances but it was a super challenge going there in the replay.

“Altrincham are a very good footballing team, they make the pitch big, very expansive and pass the ball incredibly well and they try and grind teams down.”

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Despite the challenge Lakeland admitted his side faced, Farsley came out on top and he was proud of his side’s display.

He added: “We showed effort, togetherness, resilience and moments of quality when we had opportunities to play, I felt we deserved it.

“Fitness levels were absolutely immense because we did spend long spells without the ball so every credit to the players and keeping their concentration. It’s a big win for the football club.”

Farsley now host National League Barnet in the next round who were playing in League Two as recently as 2018, and Lakeland believes the location of the tie could be of huge significance.

He said: “Being at home will play some part in it being a leveller because the pitch at our place is not the best and they won’t be used to playing on surfaces like that; we are.

“We have to use this to our advantage but we’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game they have some really good players.

“We go into it as massive underdogs but we have to go into it believing we can cause an upset and, in a way, it will be like a final to us.”

Farsley currently sit eighth in the National League North table, one spot outside the play-off places but only three points off third-placed Chester, so boss Lakeland is aware of the importance of tomorrow’s clash with Leamington.

He added: “It’s incredibly tight at the top and we’ve been performing a lot better recently after an indifferent October, to be only three points off third at this stage of the season for us is incredible really.

“We’re very close now to our first objective which is to stay in the division so, in that sense, three points tomorrow would be massive because it gets us closer to our status in the division next year.”

The Farsley boss is also not ruling out a serious tilt for the play-offs after his side’s impressive first half of the campaign.

Lakeland said: “We have to strive to try and achieve the play-offs, there’s no point messing about, once we achieve our first objective the pressure is off and everything is to play for.”

Meanwhile Guiseley will be looking to return to form after back-to-back league defeats against Kidderminster and Brackley Town when they face a trip to Hereford tomorrow.

The Lions sit 10th in the National League North table while this weekend’s opponents sit just one point behind them in 14th.

Basement-side Bradford Park Avenue travel to Spennymoor Town who are currently sixth in the league.

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Mark Beck isn’t yet sure if he will be fit enough to be considered for selection when Harrogate Town visit Boreham Wood tomorrow, but says he is determined to play his part over the festive period.

The 25-year-old striker has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury suffered in training the day before his side’s 3-1 defeat at Sutton United on November 30.

And whether he is able to play at Meadow Park this weekend or not, Beck wants to make up for lost time when he does eventually return to action and help his side negotiate a hectic stage of the season that will see them play five times in the space of just 15 days.

“I’m almost there,” he said.

“I’m not sure about Saturday, it might be too soon. We’ll see how I get on in training on Friday and if I come through the fitness test. On Tuesday I was up to 90 per cent, so I’m not too far off, however I need to be 100 per cent if I want to be involved. It’s a small grade one tear in my hamstring, and it’s been nearly three weeks now, so that’s enough time. Obviously I want to get back playing as quickly as possible, but we’ll just have to see.

“Christmas is a massively important period of the season so I’m keen to try and help the team pick up the points that will keep us pushing for a top-three place.”

Beck has netted six times so far this term and his form has seen him establish himself as manager Simon Weaver’s go-to option at the top end of the pitch.

Thus, the timing of his injury has left him frustrated, though he concedes that even this particular cloud has a silver lining.

“Of course it is frustrating when you’re out of the team because you can’t effect anything on the pitch and I was pretty happy with how I was playing,” he added. Personally, I thought that I was playing as well as I have done for a long time. If you’re looking for a positive I suppose you could say that it’s allowed me to have a bit of a rest before a really busy period of the season.

“I did have a couple knocks that I’ve been carrying. I’ve had a swollen knee since the Bromley game and it’s been swelling up every time. That’s settled down now and I do feel fresher and ready to go again when I get my chance.”

Elsewhere in the National League tomorrow, FC Halifax Town host Notts County