Alty Are Looking To Complete The Total Transformation

It was November when Altrincham fans were starting to believe they may not be playing National League North football next season.

Click here to find out how to watch Saturday's Promotion Final between Boston United and Altrincham.

Not because of why you think, mind you. They hadn’t sensed this could be their year. Quite the opposite, in fact, writes Tom Scott.

At the start of the season’s fourth month, Alty were sitting on 13 points. They were 18th in the table, just four points above the drop zone.

A few weeks earlier they had just been hammered 5-0 at Boston United.

Phil Parkinson takes his team back there this weekend, incredibly, to compete in the National League North Promotion Final.

A return to the scene of many of his nightmares comes after play-off wins over Chester and, impressively, York City.

It’s quite some turn around considering their quite miserable first third of the season.

“I truly believe if we had a better start to the season, we would’ve won the league this season,” he told us ahead of the shoot-out on Saturday.

“People will think I’m crazy saying that and now we’ve got to go away to Boston and win. If we do that, it validates what I said, if not, we know we’ve still got a bit of work to do.

“The 5-0 loss came at a point when we were at our weakest and they exploited that, they were very good. Boston are the most improved team in the league this year, Craig [Elliott] has done a great job again.”

He’s not done a bad job, either. The club have progressed fantastically under his stewardship.

Promotion from the NPL in 2018, they returned to this level with a fifth place finish.

But, after another play-off finish, that won’t make it any less gutting if the club come away from York Street this weekend defeated.

Only two sides have scored more league goals this season and for Alty this is a chance to regain their Step 1 place they lost in 2016.

“We’ve had a couple of good seasons but the players know an opportunity like this doesn’t come around every season,” he said.

“The biggest thing for me was the lads’ application during that 17-week period. We can’t ask them to do things because they were furloughed but they got on with their own individual fitness work and maintained themselves.

“They’ve come back in unbelievable shape and that reassures you that you’re doing the right thing because it costs a lot of money going into this.

“We’re a very attacking minded team,” he adds. “We’ve always had teams that score plenty of goals and that’s something we take great pride in.

“We get a lot of compliments about our style of play and that makes lads want to come and play for us.

“It’s going to be a long old 90 minutes. Both teams are worthy of their spot in the final and whoever comes out on top will be worth their place in the National League next season.”

Full feature interview available in the National League North Promotion Final matchday programme.

Where next?

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LV Bet Big Preview: National League North Promotion Final There are some massive matches going on this weekend - here's part one of betting partner LV Bet's bumper previews.