Preparations stay the same as Brackley Town get set for big play-off final

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Gavin Cowan says he won't be trying to play down the magnitude of Saturday's Vanarama National League North play-off final to his squad.

But the Brackley Town boss insists preparations stay the same this week ahead of the huge showdown with Boston United at St James Park (kick-off 3.30pm).

The Saints marched into the showpiece last Sunday as they secured a 1-0 win against Chorley in the semi-final thanks to a 76th-minute goal from Riccardo Calder.

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Boston made their way through by claiming penalty shootout wins at Alfreton Town and Scunthorpe United, the team who had finished the regular season in second, a place above Brackley.

Riccardo Calder scored the winner for Brackley against Chorley (picture: Pete Keen)Riccardo Calder scored the winner for Brackley against Chorley (picture: Pete Keen)
Riccardo Calder scored the winner for Brackley against Chorley (picture: Pete Keen)

That meant the Saints would have a home final as they finished higher in the league standings than sixth-placed Boston.

And Cowan is now readying his players for a massive match this weekend.

"We'll approach the game as we normally would," Cowan said.

"We're not going to patronise the lads by telling them it's like any other game because it's not.

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"It's the final of the play-offs, but our preparation will be as it is and we'll prepare like we do every week.

"We'll be ready for what will be a really tough game."

A close encounter will be expected this weekend as Brackley have been resilient defensively in recent times, while Boston haven't conceded a goal in either of their play-off matches so far.

Brackley had to battle hard against Chorley, who had gone into the semi-final on the back of a penalty shootout win at home to Curzon Ashton four days earlier.

"It was a really great day for us, a really hard-fought effort," Saints manager Cowan said.

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"It was a monstrous effort from Chorley, coming off the back of extra-time and penalties. They put in an incredible performance but we felt we were worthy of the win so we're really pleased to come out winners.

"When the ball turned over we lacked a bit of quality at times, but what's great, and what we said in the changing room after the game, is that we've been at a real high standard in terms of quality since Boxing Day. And to know that wasn't quite there on Sunday but we pulled on our reserves with a real strong, physical and mental approach is great.

"Our minimum requirement is doing the hard work, doing a job and a half and making sure that when it isn't the best game, we can come through as victors.

"I'm really proud of the players and we were well worthy of the win."

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Cowan always had full faith that his players could find a way past a stubborn Chorley defence.

He said: "We felt like one would go in sooner rather than later.

"One thing the lads are is relentless and they are usually ruthless in box boxes.

"We felt very confident going into that final 25 minutes, knowing they'd had a big game of extra-time and penalties.

"We're on our own agenda and we feel we fully deserve to get to this point."

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