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Mossley Set Their Sights on Promotion
Wednesday 19th August 2015 @ 11:37 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

According to Mossley Football Club manager Peter Band, the Lilywhites need to hit the ground running this season.

Entering his third stint as joint Manager, the former Altrincham stalwart will be hoping for great things from his players.

The 43-year-old will be faced, however, with a challenging nine months. “We’ve got to start well this season, get on a decent run, and hopefully we’ll be there or thereabouts by the end of the season” says Peter.

Mossley were desperately unfortunate not to secure a play-off spot last April.

Despite only losing four league fixtures since the start of the year, the club missed out by a paltry two points.

A bitter pill to swallow, certainly, but one which Peter hopes will help improve his side. “I think the first ten games of the season cost us a play-off position” he says.

“I think we won two out of the first ten games, so we gave ourselves too much to do by the end of the season.

“I think we were 20 points off the play-offs after Christmas, but in the end we only missed out by two points.”

Mossley weren’t without silverware last season though.

In fact, for the third time in four years, the club lifted the Manchester Premier Cup.

And better still, it was at the expense of Curzon Ashton. Peter added: “To finish the season with a bit of silverware was nice.

“I think it shows how far we’ve come in a short space of time to beat Curzon, who are now in the National league North.”

The Lilywhites couldn’t have asked for a better start to the clash.

Less than ten seconds had passed when John Bennett -who ironically signed for Curzon over summer – gave his side the lead.

With three minutes of the game remaining, Mossley were destined to lift the cup.
Jordan Wright had ideas of his own though.

The midfielder hit a fearsome strike to force a round of penalties.

Was Peter worried by this point? Slightly. He admitted: “Had it gone into extra time, I think Curzon would have won it.

“I believe that left footed players shouldn’t take penalties, and two of their left footers missed.

“Andy Farrimond hadn’t been playing but actually got us to the final by saving penalties against Trafford.

“He deserved his chance and I think we deserved to win overall.”

While promotion is a priority at the club, retaining the cup is just as important. “The Manchester Premier Cup has been good to me while I’ve been at Mossley” says Peter.

“There are some tough sides in the competition, including FC United and Hyde, so it’s luck of the draw really.

“It depends how teams are doing in the league when you play them, but it would be nice to win it again.”

A number of key players have opted to depart Seel Park, including John Bennett, Josh Granite and Rio Ahmadi – the latter scoring 11 goals last season.

These were certainly crucial players, but according to Peter, not irreplaceable. He said: “I think Rio had a ratio of scoring one in every three games, the same with Josh Granite.

“They both had great seasons for us, but they’ve moved on now, and so will we.”

Unfortunately, an incurable knee injury has forced Aaron Hevingham into retirement.

According to Peter though, the vacuum left in the centre of midfield will be filled by James Blair and Rory Breslin.

Questioned if Aaron will be a loss to the side, Peter honestly stated: “Probably not now.

“No disrespect to him, but we’ve just got James Blair back and Rory from Maine Road.

“Blair’s like a skipper without the armband, so he’s like a ready-made replacement for Aaron.”

Following a lengthy setback, Ryan Marley is also poised to return. “He’s only played around 20 games for us in the past two years, but you know that you’ll get 100% from him every game” added Peter.

The old adage says that in order to win games, you have to score goals.

Fortunately, Mossley don’t lack in that department.

In fact, they arguably boast one of the best strikers in the league.

Step up Tom Pratt.

Having notched 16 times last season –making him the highest goal scorer at the club – the 20-year-old is primed for more.

According to Peter, the youngster is destined for great things. He said “Tom has been one of our top performers since he came to the club, adding goals to his game last season.

“He’s a great lad on the pitch and in the changing room, and hopefully this season he will get 15-20 goals.”

As a voluntary run club, Mossley rely on the efforts of key personnel to keep it running smoothly – mainly supporters!

Peter holds the fans in the highest regard, describing them as ‘invaluable’. He added: “there must have been 40 or 50 supporters at the Mossley 10k run, either helping give tickets out, marshalling the course or tidying up after. People don’t often see that, including the players.

“It took around eight months for Harry Hulmes and Andy Rowles to organise the race, so well done to them both for doing it.”

Inclusiveness is an important aspect at Seel Park.

It’s therefore crucial that Peter remains as open as possible with the lifeblood of the club. “myself and Lloyd make ourselves approachable, so we can sit down, have a chat, and tell them what’s going on with the team” he added.

“We’ve got to go into the bar after every game, whether we win, lose or draw.”

Mossley proved that they can mix with the big boys last season.

Everyone connected with the club will be expecting, rather than hoping, for the same this campaign.