NPL Division One East
Ossett United manager Wayne Benn hopes his troops can end leaders Liversedge’s unbeaten league record when the two teams meet for the mouth-watering Friday night fixture at Ingfield.
Ossett are fourth after eleven matches but without a win in three in the league.
Benn, who hopes as many as 700 people attend the derby clash, admits the way Ossett have opened the campaign is hugely positive but says beating ‘Sedge would be a springboard to push on from.
“We have had a decent start which has slowed down over the past two or three weeks but if anyone had said ‘if you take being fourth coming into mid-October’, we’d have said ‘absolutely’,” Benn told Non League Yorkshire.
“Actually when you look at it in the cold light of day, we probably should have a few more points.
“We have dropped a few points we shouldn’t have,
“You’d look at it currently and say we’re not in the best of form but football can change quickly.
“If we can get a positive result against a very strong team who has had an unbelievable start then who knows, that might be the catalyst to kick us on again.
“We’re having to deal with a few injury issues at the minute but hopefully we’ll have a few back for Friday night.
“If we can be the first team to beat Liversedge in the league this season it will be a great boost for everyone and I’m pretty sure it would lead to a big upturn in results.
“If we go and beat them on Friday, I think we end up only four points behind them.
“That would be hugely positive.
“But we’re not daft.
“If we lost on Friday, we’re not playing the following week so if the teams around us win their games then the league will look different.”
However, he is not naive to think it will be easy.
‘Sedge have won nine and drawn one of their first ten NPL fixtures – scoring 25 times and conceding just five.
“I think you know what you’re going to encounter when you face Liversedge,” he said.
“You can see the signings and the makeup of the team; they’re all big strong lads and because of that they’re going to play a certain brand of football.
“I think it is about us dealing with what they bring as best as we can – dealing with the physciality and defending our box properly.
“If we do that I’m pretty sure we have enough ability and talent to cause them problems going the other way.
“We certainly won’t be parking the bus and giving them too much respect.
“We tip our hat to them because the start they have had is unbelievable.
“They’re setting a real fast pace at the top of the Division.
Because of the Friday night factor, the attendance is expected to be enormous – which further excites Benn.
“I would love there to be six or seven hundred in there and I think it has the capabilities for that,” he said.
“Hopefully the Liversedge fans will come in numbers.
“I’m pretty sure the Ossett guys will turn out in force and I’m sure there’ll be a fair share of neutrals as well.
“The Friday night fixtures, I really like them.
“I hope there’s a big crowd, a cracking atmosphere and I’m sure the two teams will leave everything on the pitch and it will be a great game.”
When Benn last spoke to Non League Yorkshire, Ossett had just beaten North East giants Stockton Town in mid-September.
Ossett then beat Frickley Athletic and Yorkshire Amateur but defeats against Cleethorpes Town, Dunston and in the FA Trophy clash at Mossley have followed.
Injuries and absences have not helped either – with Jack Cowgill, Max Dearnley, Harry Gagen, Ross Killock and Dec McGivern being some of the players who have missed one-or-two matches.
“It has been a little bit up and down (since mid-September),” he said.
“We had great wins against Frickley and Yorkshire Amateur.
“I thought we were a little bit laboured against Yorkshire Amateur and I don’t think we played particularly well.
“We came up against a really good Cleethorpes and deservedly got beat.
“There was a great away performance at Worksop and we could have nicked the win but on reflection a draw was a fair result against a big and strong physical team.
“They are a team I expect to be up there and in the mix so we were happy with that point.
“The Dunston game was not so great and we were undone by two set-pieces.
“There was nothing in the game with two evenly-matched teams and we have paid the price for not defending our box properly.
“I was actually reasonably pleased with the performance at Mossley in the FA Trophy last Saturday as we were missing nine players and we had quite a few under 18s in the squad and a lot of important players missing.
“You could argue we were the better team and if we had taken our chances I would suggest we have won the game quite comfortably.”