Chris Wade – @TufcChris
Chris looks ahead to the game at the Shay
Where else to start? It’s sad so early in the season that we are all talking about how we will get 11 on the field for the second game, but here we are. With pre-season issues already surrounding several players, the first day withdrawal of Corie Andrews, Kieron Evans and Ali Omar has only made the situation more desperate. Whether your view is that GJ works them to hard in training, the weather is a factor or just pure bad luck, we are in a bit of a pickle. Rumours are abound of potential additions from them up the road as well as Ipswich Town and those numbers cannot come soon enough. But it’s not ideal so early.
The early season away from was really poor last season, and whilst most successful teams are formed with a solid home record, those additional points away from home make a real difference. I think there may be a part of this new team that may initially be more comfortable playing away. The big home crowd and expectation at Plainmoor is great and something that most will thrive on, but not all. There is no doubt that we ended up too deep last Saturday and we need to get up the field into areas that can both push the team forward and start the defensive line higher up. Additional pace and quality in wide areas will also help, as pace helps you get out quickly.
The current heat wave in Britain is sure to play a part. All of those witty quips about its grim up north will be firmly back in the box this week and fans swelter and find one of the benches in the beer garden of the Three Pigeons (what a pub by the way). It plays a real factor in games at this time of the season, and although it may be pleasant for fans, it won’t be for players. Hydration is key and making sure that the body is balanced ready for kick off. All of the fitness work and runs up Babbacombe Downs are for games like tomorrow and the sustainability of the body. Beer sadly isn’t in the players pre match routine unlike mine!
It’s hard to know what to expect from our host on Saturday. A whole raft of changes of swept through the club since the end of last season with manager Pete Wild and top scorer Billy Waters (don’t) both departing for Barrow. A host of other players have also left. As with a lot of National League clubs (including us), turnover is par for the course but Halifax have certainly seen plenty. An opening day 2-0 defeat at Barnet and a red card was hardly an ideal start for their new manager who was appointed from within. I have family in the town and my cousin is a season ticket holder and the feeling is very much of uncertainty (like us). A range of new players will be stepping out onto the Shay for the first time tomorrow and nobody knows quite what to expect (like us). As an interesting side note, Halifax midfielder Jamie Allan is back from Love Island, so it may be interesting to see the reception he gets. Imagine it at Plainmoor…….?
Ah blimey, it’s very hard to predict anything at this time of the year, and especially with such new squads from both clubs. I can see a tight affair with both teams not wanting to lose an early goal and get behind the game, especially with Halifax at home for the first time this season. My bold prediction is 1-1 and a point to get the season started away from home.