Craig Elliott says Boston United have learned from their Gateshead mistakes, but believes play-off rivals have 'slight advantage'

Pilgrims host Heed in play-offs this weekend...

Craig Elliott. Photo: Eric Brown

Craig Elliott says his Boston United squad have to ‘give everything we’ve got’ to book their place in the National League North play-off final.

The Pilgrims host Gateshead in Saturday’s semi (KO 5.30pm), following the Heed’s 6-5 penalty shoot-out win at Brackley Town this weekend.

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Elliott believes that match will give the visitors an edge when the two sides meet at York Street, but knows his squad are up for the challenge.

“They’ve got a slight advantage. I’m not playing games, but having that extra match will help, they’ll me a bit more battle hardened and have miles in the legs,” he told The Standard.

“But it’s a one-off game and we’ve got to give it everything. We’ve got to get through the tie.

“On paper our squad is a strong squad. There’s a lot of play-off experience in there, some successful, some not.

“They’ve been there and done it and that’s the main thing as there will be fine margins.”

Gateshead have beaten Boston 3-0 twice this season, in the north east back in September and in Lincolnshire in February, the previous game to be staged at York Street.

Now Elliott wants his side to have the last laugh.

“Away at their place the scoreline flattered them, there wasn’t much in the game,” he said.

“At home we let ourselves down and had a really bad, off night. They capitalised and played really well. I think at the time they were on a good run and full of confidence.

“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes from when we played them last. It’s about how players have come back.

“It starts to feel a bit more real now we can really focus on the game.

“I had a feeling it would be Gateshead, they’re a full-time outfit and a good team.

“It’s going to be a tough game as we all know. We have to turn up and be at our best to win it.”

Elliott is now working on getting the most out of his side, continuing his ethos since the return to training.

He added: “My main thing has been to fine tune the basics, not do anything too complicated.

“Coming out of lockdown it was important to get clear, concise messages and make sure we get that right first. We don’t want to concede soft goals because we’re getting too complicated.

“People forget we finished third in this league so we must be doing something right. It’s about doing that again now.”