ALBION Sports’ boss Rizwan Mohammed believes that having a 40-man strong squad will be “crucial” if his side are to achieve their goals of reaching the play-offs.

The West Yorkshire outfit are on course for their best NCEL Premier Division campaign in years, as they currently sit 5th in the league standings which, based on this year’s play-off format, is the last spot available to teams in the division.

However, like last season, Albion have been handed a heavily congested schedule in March due to the fact they currently don’t have their own ground and have to share with Bradford (Park Avenue) at Horsfall.

With that in mind, both clubs can’t play their home fixtures on the same day and the NCEL have allocated Albion the most suitable schedule for March, where they will play seven league fixtures, whilst their play-off rivals will play either four or five games across the month respectively.

Unlike last season, Mohammed believes his side are well prepared for the challenge this time around. He said: “Firstly, I don’t think anyone anticipated us challenging for a play-off spot at the start of the season, but we’ve worked hard internally and on the training pitch to get ourselves to where we are.

“On the other hand, we’ve got to this position, and we’ve still been handed seven games in March. You look at our play-off rivals and none of them have as many games as we do next month; the league say it’s to do with us not having our own ground, so we’ve had to anticipate and prepare for this scenario once again, having dealt with it over the past couple of years.

“Don’t get me wrong, I still think there should be a level playing field, and that we shouldn’t have an extremely congested month compared to every other team, but we’ve dealt with it and prepared for it mentally.

“We’ve created a big squad (40 players), and we’ve done it for that exact reason, so that we can properly compete at the business end of the season.

“Playing seven games in four weeks is a lot, but we feel we’re more equipped this season, and that’s what’s giving us the belief that we can go and achieve our goals of reaching the play-offs.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Aran Basi (left) has captained his side expertly this seasonAran Basi (left) has captained his side expertly this season (Image: Alex Daniel)

If the playing conditions are deemed suitable on Saturday (today), Albion will take on play-off rivals Rossington Main (4th) at the Horsfall in what is being described as a six-pointer by the Bradford side’s boss.

Mohammed said: “Of course, if it goes ahead, this game is absolutely massive for both teams.

“I’ve been amazed by Rossington’s form, and they thoroughly deserve to be where they are in the league. They play a great brand of football, and they currently have momentum on their side which is huge in any play-off race (only lost once since November 18).

“For me, this is a six-pointer and it will go a long way to deciding who finishes in the play-off places. If we can get a victory, not only will it give us three points against the side directly above us in the league, but it will also give us a confidence boost knowing that we’ve got one over one of our play-off rivals. It’s huge.”

Fan favourite George McMahon, who was an ever-present between the sticks for Albion, departed the club in December to focus on goalkeeper coaching at Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he will work with the Academy set-up at u9s to u16s.

However, the Bradford side have moved swiftly to re-sign former Silsden goalkeeper Kyle Trennery on a permanent deal ahead of the final run-in.

Mohammed spoke of his delight to have him on board with the project, when he said: “It was a blow to lose George to Wolves because he’s been a great goalkeeper for us over the past 18 months.

“Unfortunately, his job there meant that he had to sacrifice playing completely, so it was important that we brought in a keeper. Harry Allen joined from Farsley Celtic on loan and then we’ve recently signed Kyle Trennery.

“He started his junior career at Albion, and he also made his open-age debut for the club at 16-years-old, so he’s had a number of experiences with us already.

“He was the right man to bring in; he’s got great quality, we know him well and I’ll be a great addition to the squad, so we’re delighted to have him back at the club again.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: George McMahon has departed the club for a job role at WolvesGeorge McMahon has departed the club for a job role at Wolves (Image: Martin Taylor)