Defender Gary Liddle has been one of United’s form players this season, but he admitted this week that there was a feeling of disappointment in the dressing room that a good season has not resulted in a second consecutive play-off appearance for the club.
“It has been a disappointment not to make the play-offs, especially after the last couple of years,” he said. “It was sort of an expectancy that we could build on last year’s play-off finish, but that wasn’t to be.
“We had quite a few new players and it took us a bit of time to get the season going, and ultimately it didn’t come off in the end. We’ll probably finish ninth or tenth and although it isn’t in the play-offs it isn’t easy to do in this league. There are always positives to take from a season, so that’s what we’ll do.”
“The aim is to finish things off tomorrow with three points,” he added. “It’s been a long season and although we haven’t got much to play for now we still want to do things right and continue our good form.
“I think we’ve lost one in 13 and it’s all about personal pride, and there are lads who are fighting for contracts. We want the three points to end the season properly to thank the fans for their support.
“Even though people will see the game as a dead rubber we’ll still prepare properly. We’ve trained well this week and we’ll prepare for the game the same as we would for any other game. We’ll look at their strengths and weaknesses and we’ll be aiming to score some goals and win the game.
“We want to end the season with one defeat in 14. I saw a stat recently and I think if we’d had a similar first half of the season as we’ve had second half we would have comfortably been in the automatic places. We’ll be aiming to take the second half of this season into the next one and have another good go.”
Looking back to last weekend, he commented: “The Port Vale game was tiring because it’s a big old pitch! It isn’t the first time I’ve played there so I knew what to expect, but I was telling the younger lads how big it was on the way down.
“It was great to finish the away season off with a win, especially scoring both goals in front of our fans. It was a great send off for the manager in his last away game, which I know he wanted to win.
“Saturday will give us a chance to say thank you to the fans who have stuck with us all season. We know we haven’t had enough home wins, especially in the early part of the campaign.“I think the football we’ve tried to play and the results we’ve picked up in the last few months has hopefully given them something to shout about. The fans come out in their numbers, home and away, so if we can send them away with another three points and something to look forward to for next season that would be great.”