By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
With 11 games remaining, Ossett Town boss Craig Elliott has eyes firmly focussed on an Evo Stik Division One North top half finish.
Ossett lie in 14th, five points away from 12th placed Farsley AFC with two games in hand during Elliott’s first season in charge at Ingfield.
Elliott, whose side won 1-0 at Curzon Ashton on Monday night, has achieved two of his targets and wants his team to complete the job to round off the campaign. The former Glasshoughton Welfare manager also reflected on the last ten months.
“The aim for the last 11 games is to get in the top 12 and if we can do that then I would be delighted with the season,” he said.
“My aim when I took over was to have a couple of good runs which we did in the Trophy and the County Cup and get a top half finish. If we can do that, I’ll be really happy and it is still in our hands. If we can win six or seven games out of the last 11 then we should be able to do it.
“I’m not going to lie, it has been a stop-start season in terms of injuries and suspensions and me having to trial more players than I would have liked. But I’ve learnt a lot so progress-wise I know what is needed to improve and make us better for next year. Me personally, I know what type of players we need. This year I’ve probably tried too many players. I brought a lot of players up a few divisions and some of them haven’t been good enough, while some of them have.”
In November Elliott guided Town to the First Round proper of the FA Trophy and took his team to former Football League giants Stockport County. It is a moment he will look back with fond memories.
“The FA Trophy run is something to look back on – it is a real highlight as it was the furthest Ossett Town has gone in it and to get a big team like Stockport made it a great day for everyone,” he said.
“We also did well in the County Cup and I was really gutted to lose in the semi-final, but we came across such a good team like Halifax.”
Ossett’s success has not been just restricted to the cup competitions. Exciting forward Jimmy Eyles has been a revelation since arriving from Nostell Miners Welfare and Elliott hopes to hang onto for next season.
“He has been brilliant and a big success,” he said.
“He is 21-years-old and we got him from Nostell who are struggling in the Northern Counties East League. He’s come and he has been brilliant on his day. Not just with his goals, I think he has scored 12 goals in 16 games, but his performances have been excellent.
“He is exciting to watch and I hope we can keep him next year because I know a few teams have been looking at him.”
Elliott is now slowly planning for the summer and when asked on whether the play-offs were the target for the 2013-14 campaign, Elliott said: “I wouldn’t say as far as that, but obviously you try and aim as high as you can.
“If we can get top half this year and say to ourselves ‘can we be a top seven side next year’, you never know. What I would say is that I don’t think there is much in the league this year apart from the top couple of teams. I think anyone can beat anyone on any day. I can’t see that being any different next year. It’s about consistency for anyone.”