TT OPPOSITION Q&A
Tom Scargill discusses FC Halifax Town
Hi Tom so how would you summarise Halifax’s season up to this point?
I think they’ve done pretty well but it could have been better if they’d taken more of their chances. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag, some good performances and some not so good, some good results and some not so good. They’ve never been completely outplayed or thrashed, but there was a glimpse before Christmas of the side they can be at their best when they beat Aldershot, Barnet and Weymouth in very convincing fashion, playing some swashbuckling attacking football.
Injuries have proved disruptive too, with first choice strikers at the start of the season Matty Stenson and Jake Hyde getting injured twice in the first third of the season, plus captain Nathan Clarke is out medium term. Individual errors have started to creep in the last couple of games so they need addressing quickly.
What do you think about the saga of the NL vote?
I think it’s a complete shambles! The clubs were led up the garden path thinking they’d be allowed to have fans in right until the eve of the season, and they’ve clearly been made to believe that they’d be getting grants all season. It’s a complete disaster, a total mess. I can see the National League playing on but probably not the North/South (Response received prior to vote results!). But there’s so many unanswered questions. I just think clubs at this level deserve far better than how this whole situation has been handled.
What is Halifax’s likely stance on the league continuing?
They’ve kept their cards close to their chest but when I’ve asked Pete Wild about it in interviews he’s said we need to try and find a way to carry on playing.
How’s the teams recent form been?
As I say, some individual errors have crept in the last couple of games so they need sorting out. It just seems to be one step forward one step back at the minute. There were two really positive performances against Bromley and Wrexham and then back to back defeats to Maidenhead and Barnet, both on paper winnable games. Injuries aren’t helping, the team has had to be chopped and changed a fair bit, with loan signings perhaps not having the same impact as the players who have been injured. Luke Summerfield is a big miss in central midfield too, hugely influential.
What’s been the highlights of the season so far?
Probably that little run against Aldershot, Barnet and Weymouth. Town really turned it on in those games, they had Jake Hyde fit and they absolutely destroyed Barnet and Weymouth. That was their best football of the season.
Who are the key players and why?
Luke Summerfield is the key man, but he is out for another couple of months. Jake Hyde is returning to action now after a hamstring injury kept him out for two months. Jeff King is also an important player at right wing back. A converted attacking midfielder, he possesses good movement, energy and close control and often is the outlet for Town attacks.
Can Halifax still mount a challenge for the play-offs?
I think so yeah. The season is so unpredictable, pretty much any team can beat any other what with more injuries than usual due to the stop-start nature of the season and Covid causing disruption, so I think you’re going to see teams have little spurts of form. There’s no reason Town can’t have that, but they need to keep Hyde fit for a start, he is their best outlet for goals and he’s already missed too many games. The sooner Summerfield gets back fit the better too. With those two in the spine of the team, their chances of the play-offs increase. Without them, it looks trickier.
Who’s the manager and what tactics does he like to employ?
Pete Wild, guided the club to a hugely unlikely play-off finish in his first season last term, having only joined two weeks before the start of the campaign. Overhauled the squad last summer and made some good signings but has been unlucky with injuries. His fortunes with the Town fans has been up and down, harshly I’d say, not helped by poor results like losing at bottom club Barnet on Tuesday night. I think he’s done a very good job given what he inherited, he’s improved the squad, he’s made some good additions, he’s improved the links with the youth team and made the whole set-up more professional and structured. He likes the team to press, be aggressive and play attractive, attacking football, but this has only really been produced on and off this season, which is the frustrating thing.
Which opposition players and teams have impressed you most?
Probably the more experienced ones Town have faced, such as Notts County’s Michael Doyle, Stockport’s John Rooney. I really liked Boreham Wood’s Sorba Thomas and wasn’t surprised he got a move to the Football League. I think Torquay have some very good players like Lemonheigh-Evans and Whitfield.
And finally, what’s your prediction for the game at Plainmoor?
Be a tough one for Town. They have to stop giving cheap goals away for a start. I think a point would be a terrific result for Town, but they might just get squeezed out – 2-1 Torquay.