Retford Boss Hoping For Playoff Push

Retford manager, Chris Woodhead, is preparing to go again when the 2023/24 campaign kicks off, his Choughs side narrowly missing out on a spot in the play-offs last time around.

Just ten points separated that of Staveley Miners Welfare, in fifth place (the last play-off position), and tenth place, Selby Town, Retford one of several in the mix come the seasons end, finishing just four points off the pace, in seventh, once the final whistle had been blown.

It means that, when the new season does begin, Retford will take their place in the Northern Counties East Division One for another season, and, joining them this time around, will be that of near-neighbours, Retford United.

That’s where the comparisons do end however, Woody, as he’s affectionately known by the Choughs faithful, aware of the ‘chasm’ that exists between the two sides, but he’s also, like many others, looking forward to the ‘Retford Derby’ during 2023/24.

“The Retford Derby, yes, we’re looking forward to it, but we’ll be the underdogs,” began the Choughs boss looking ahead to the new campaign.

“It’s a totally different world between the two of us, but fair to play to them, we’ll just have to go into those games and try and cause an upset.

“As for the new season overall; yes, I think a lot of us are concerned about the number of games (23 clubs in NCEL Division One equates to some 46 league games alone, before adding cups competitions into the mix).

“It’s a strange decision and won’t just affect us, but others as well, so we’ll wait and see.

“On the pitch though, we’ve not really looked at pre-season but we’ve kept the nucleus of the squad and will continue building around that.

“The aim though, it has to be to push for the play-offs again, after which, you never know what’ll happen.”

As for the season just finished, the Choughs registered seventeen wins and eight draws from their thirty-eight league outings, highs and lows throughout.

It was to be a season which would begin with four wins from the opening five games, starting with a 5-2 home win over Nostell Miners Welfare, Matthew Parkin registering a first half hat-trick.

Meanwhile, at the back end of the season, three straight wins were picked up as they put on a late push for the play-offs, before being edged, in a seven-goal thriller, on the last day of the season, away to champions, Campion.

Over 300 spectators turned up for the champions procession in early April, and Retford, they came so close to being party-poopers with the game 2-2 at half-time, and 3-3 as it edged into the closing minutes, only for the hosts to grab a late winner; Retford would score through Alex Wonham (2), and Jack Johnson, Nicky Boshell with Campion’s 90 minute fourth.

Looking back on the season Woody added of it: “I guess it was disappointing in the end, to finish seventh.

“But we’ve also overachieved as well, especially with the young squad we have here.

“It has been difficult, especially as we’re a newish club still (only formed in 2015).

“We only really use local talent, young lads, and try to develop them.

“Of the players we have had coming through, in the last game of the season, we had three eighteen year olds playing.

“We’ve stayed in the mix though, been there or thereabouts, which is good when you look at the number of games you play in this league.

“That, and the number of youngsters we’ve managed to have playing, have been the main highlights of the season.

“On the flip-side though, not making the play-offs was, as I said, disappointing, as well as losing the players in which we did, either through they moving on, or through injuries, of which there’s also been a few.”

Keep up-to-date with all things Retford via their social media on Facebook here and Twitter here, and their website here.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @RetfordSnapper Retford FC Manager Chris Woodhead hoping for a playoff push.

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