Chorley have an attacking boost ahead of tomorrow’s crunch play-off final clash at FC Halifax Town as they bid to end a 27-year absence from the National League.
Striker Jack Sampson has served his three-match ban for a red card in the 2-2 draw with Gloucester City and he is now available for tomorrow’s clash at The Shay, with experienced central defender Stephen Jordan due to be assessed before the game.
The ex-Burnley and Manchester City defender had to come off in Chorley’s second-leg semi-final 2-0 win that saw the Magpies beat Kidderminster with a 2-1 aggregate win.
Boss Matt Jansen says he will be assessed as Chorley aim to make history and climb back into the top tier of non-league for the first time since 1990.
Jansen’s side have the meanest defence in the National League North with 19 clean sheets all term and after knocking second-placed Kiddy out, the Chorley boss is confident heading into the one-off promotion decider.
He said: “Jack’s return is huge. He has been great since he arrived and it is a big boost to have him back.”
Chorley have been in this position before, just two years ago when Jansen was assistant boss to Garry Flitcroft.
That time Chorley surrendered a half-time 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to Guiseley, with Flitcroft handing over the reins to his ex-Blackburn Rovers team-mate soon after.
After an eighth-placed finish last term, Jansen’s side just sneaked into the last play-off spot as fifth-placed Darlington failed to meet a ground grading regulation.
And with the core of that side that tasted defeat at the final hurdle – like long-standing skipper Andy Teague and semi- final hero Adam Roscoe – still at Victory Park, Jansen says that past pain can inspire them.
He said: “The core is still there but I’ve added to it and I think it is strengthened and their experience will be vital.
“We are the underdogs, there is no pressure on us and we will relish that.”
Chorley are expected to take more than 1,000 fans over the Pennines and Jansen has called for one more push.
He said: “The lads’ spirt, mentality and desire has been huge over the last few weeks and the fans have been incredible.
“They are the ones pushing the lads on, making them go that extra mile.
“All I’m asking for is one last push – from everyone!”