Wilcox realistic about Farsley’s hopes

National North 

Farsley Celtic manager Russ Wilcox. Picture: Mathew Appleby

Russ Wilcox says Farsley Celtic have to be realistic about their aspirations this season due to how tough the National North is now due to the expansion to 24 clubs.

Farsley pulled off the great escape last season after Wilcox steered them to safety on the final day.

But now four teams are to be relegated so the task ahead for part-time Farsley is difficult.

“A disappointment would obviously be relegation and structure of the league has changed so four go down instead of one,” Wilcox told Non League Yorkshire.

“I must be honest with you and say if it had been four down last season I certainly wouldn’t have taken the job.

“I took the job knowing that if we finish second bottom then it has been a successful season.

“This year will be tough and tough for a lot of clubs but again a lot of clubs are investing.

“The teams who have come up like Peterborough are spending good money on players.

“I think the standard of the league is getting stronger and better players are filtering down and for me it is a very strong league.

“Success, it is hard (to say) when you haven’t kicked a ball to put anything on that.

“We obviously want to do a lot better than last season.

“We need to first and foremost; this isn’t me being cautious; we need to stay out of the bottom four because anyone apart from the full-time teams can end up there because of how competitive it is. 

“For me, success will be staying out of the bottom four but the fans don’t want to hear you say that.

“It is about building the team and hoping it is better than last season and can we finish higher than last season?

“You never know. You can get on little runs and surprise teams.

“Alfreton were a great example of that last season. With ten games to go they looked like they were going to filter away into a mid-table team and they went on an unbelievable run together and missed out on the play-offs on the last day.”

Farsley face a baptism of fire in the opening five games as they face Leamington, Alfreton Town, AFC Fylde, Brackley Town and Curzon Ashton.

What Wilcox says Farsley need to improve on is their goals for column.

“We have Leamington and Alfreton in the first two games so you have two teams there who are really strong and robust,” he said.

“We’re going to have to be really good, especially in our defensive box.

“We have to be creative and one of the things we have spoken about as a group is we scored 37 goals last season so we need to improve that massively.

“We have to find different ways to score.

“If we don’t improve that this year and if it is 37 again or below then we’re probably definitely going to be in the bottom four.

“We need to start creating more chances.

“The top goal-scorer (Will Hayhurst and Jimmy Spencer) scored six goals and we need to create more chances for Jimmy.

“We have to be more creative to help him and get more service to him.”

Wilcox, the former York City and Scunthorpe United manager, has been in charge of Farsley since January and he also reserved praise for the club’s supporters.

“I’m really pleased I took the job,” he said.

“It is a lovely club and there’s some great people.

“Most are volunteers and they give up their spare time to put so much into the club.

“I thought the fans were outstanding last season.

“They got behind the team from game one against Chorley and saw it through the 19 games.

“I never heard a moan or groan and I told the players they wouldn’t if they gave absolutely everything for the football club.

“The players did and the fans really appreciated it.

“We certainly appreciated what the fans gave to us.”

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