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Flanagan aims for strong end to the season
Monday 10th April 2017 @ 12:47 by Mark Phillip
Football Sports

Curzon Ashton manager John Flanagan says he’s determined to finish the season as strongly as possible, despite knowing his side have secured their place in the National League North for a third successive season.

The Nash confirmed their position in step six for another season after claiming a point in a goalless stalemate with Gloucester City nine days ago.

However, Flanagan insists his side will be doing all they can to finish as high up the table as possible, and with Friday’s fixture against relegated Altrincham looming, the squad has a fantastic opportunity to make this aim possible.

Following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at struggling Worcester City, Flanagan said he’s open to the idea of rotating the squad for the remaining four games. “We still want to win games, and to be fair to the lads on the bench we want to give them some minutes if we can” said Flanagan.

“Cameron (Mason) has played again today, and we’ll look at it game by game; what the opposition are about and what the conditions are and then see what we can do.

“If we can get lads on the pitch for longer than the last ten minutes, then that’s what we’ll do, but not at the cost of losing the game.

“We’ve got to try and make sure that we drop people in and we don’t suffer for it.”

Curzon will be hoping to better last season’s record finish of 11th spot, but in order to do so they’ll have to reduce a six point deficit between themselves and Harrogate Town.

Nevertheless, Curzon will be expecting to bridge the gap against an Altrincham side which lost their 27th game of the season on Saturday against Brackley Town.

Despite entering the game as favourites, Flanagan is under no illusion that the game will be a walkover.

In fact, he regards the Robins – who have suffered a second consecutive relegation – as ‘just another opponent’.

Questioned on if he will approach the game differently, given Altrincham’s situation, Flanagan said: “Not from our point of view, it’s just another opposition and I’m not worried what colour shirt they’re in.

“I’m hungry to win every single game and I don’t want us to have a stroll, and I don’t want us to have these end of season type patterns that we’ve had in seasons gone by.

“I understand why it happens, when you’re not playing for a lot, but it’s up to me to bang the drum and if lads come up short then I’m going to tell them.

“I can’t play, but I can tell them what I’m looking for and if they don’t do it then I have to try and deal with that situation, but certainly from our point of view, and my point of view and Nev’s point of view, we’ll be pushing as hard as we can at the end of the season as we were as the beginning.”

The Nash have enjoyed one of the best seasons in their 54 year history, having embarked on an FA Cup run which put their image firmly on the map.

Although they suffered one of the most heart-breaking defeats to AFC Wimbledon in dying stages of the second round, Curzon can take solace in the fact that the memorable cup run generated as estimated £125,000 in revenue.

The financial rewards will help go towards replacing the artificial pitch at the Tameside Stadium, which currently caters for more than 1,200 people per week, including all of Curzon’s youth teams.

In a bid to raise further funds towards the new pitch, the club will be holding a race night, taking place at the Tameside Stadium, on Friday, April 21.

The event is open to members of the public. For more information contact Natalie on the following email: [email protected]