DEAN HOYLE today told Town supporters: “Don’t underestimate the value of your support to our promotion bid.”
In a clarion call ahead of the cut-price home clash with Colchester United at the Galpharm tomorrow, the chairman said: “A united effort can take us to the Championship.”
It’s the last home game of the regular season for Lee Clark’s team, who clinched their League I play-off spot with last Saturday’s 6-0 romp at Stockport.
More than half the starting side were 22 or under and Hoyle added: “We’re building for the future – preferably in the Championship.
“I went on the team bus to Stockport last week, and the greeting we got from our travelling fans on arriving at the ground was superb.
“You could see the effect it had, especially on the younger lads. More than anything, they want to please the fans, and they were really pumped up.”
Town took 3,424 supporters to Stockport and Hoyle, who has slashed admission to just £10 adults and £5 juniors tomorrow as well as opening the away end of the stadium to transferring home season-ticket holders, hopes the crowd will be close to the season’s best 20,014 for the derby with Leeds.
Each fan will receive a free T-shirt, either blue or white, as the club try to create a wall of colour around the ground.
With Town currently sixth, a point behind Charlton and two off Swindon, Hoyle continued: “It’s our last home game before the play-offs and the aim is simple – to win both tomorrow and at Exeter the Saturday after and get as far up the final table as possible.
“If we could get to fourth that would earn us home advantage for the second leg of the play-off semi-final, and also give us a big boost in self-belief.
“We’ve been in superb form of late and I think our players are showing maturity beyond their years, which is a great sign.
“Nobody is saying the play-offs will be easy. There’s a lot of hard work ahead, but it’s an exciting prospect, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
“We dearly want to win promotion, and I repeat, the supporters have a big role because we’re in this together.
“The atmosphere against Millwall and Stockport was superb, and really helped the players get the results we all wanted.
“I know they’ll get behind us for our last two league games and what we hope will be three in the play-offs.
“And one thing is for sure. It’s easier for us all to give everything for three games than the 46 it would take to get to the same stage next season.”
Hoyle’s opposite number at Colchester, Robbie Cowling, has pledged to back his manager Aidy Boothroyd as the Essex club plot a promotion bid in 2010-11.
The U’s had hoped to go into tomorrow’s clash with their play-off bid alive, but last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers put paid to that.
“We’re massively disappointed to miss out,” said Cowling.
“Over the last four years, I feel as though I’ve been taking the punches in the boxing ring four times.
“But I’m ready to step into the ring for a fifth time and take another battering.
“It’s not a bottomless pit of money, but I’ll do my absolute best to back Aidy, who is as disappointed as anyone.”