FC Halifax Town approach Monday night’s crucial top of the table clash with Alfreton Town looking for a fourth consecutive victory to further enhance their chances of sealing a play-off spot come the end of the season.
Three straight successes over Tamworth, Hyde and Welling United have boosted The Shaymen’s position in the Skrill Conference Premier but third placed Alfreton may well pose a very different threat in front of the BT cameras on Monday evening. Victory would see Neil Aspin’s side move within four points of this season’s surprise package with a game in hand and defender Simon Ainge says the squad are prepared for a dangerous Reds outfit: “It’ll be a tough game because Alfreton have had a really good season, they’ve got a few really good players so it will be a difficult match but obviously being at The Shay with our home record we can beat or at least compete with anyone so we’ll be going into it hopefully looking to get three points.”
Confidence is high at The Shay after the last few weeks but the former Guiseley man is experienced and level headed enough to keep to Aspin’s philosophy throughout the campaign by taking the fixture load one game at a time: “It’s something you might not want to hear but we are just taking it one game at a time but we all really want to get into the play-offs. We’re doing really well at the moment and we just need to keep focused, take each game at a time and after the next four games see where we are then and reassess the situation.”
The Shaymen’s woes on the road have been well documented for much of the season thus far, but the defeat of Welling brought about Town’s first back to back away victories in the league in almost a year. The 26-year-old stopper admits he is glad to shake that monkey off the squads back and he also hopes it can breed more positivity towards the team: “I think a lot has been made about the away form since the beginning of the season. After the first two or three games people kept saying that we’ve not won away and I think over the season it has created a problem when I don’t really think there should have been one. There’s been so much negativity around it that it has caused a problem and I think the Hyde away win and the really good performance that came with it has broken the mould. Hopefully we can go on now and have a spell of really good away form for the rest of the season, because the rest of the campaign that has been and gone doesn’t really matter if we can put a run of good away wins together now.”
If we rewind back to the heart-breaking defeat at Chester FC just over a month ago, the table didn’t look entirely positive for Ainge and co as they had played a significantly greater amount of matches than many of their play-off rivals. However as we approach the end of March the majority of these fixtures have been played and The Shaymen remain in an impressive position, which is credit to the recent form of the team. Other sides still have a heavier midweek fixture load ahead of them and that is something that could work into Town’s advantage: “At times the table has looked a bit false and people have said we’re only where we are because we’ve played three or four games more than other teams. Now the tables have turned a bit and we’re still up there so it’s nice that maybe we’re getting credit for being where we are and getting the results and not just because we’ve played more games than anyone.”
The coming fortnight provides a run of four crucial fixtures that are likely to shape the course of the remainder of FC Halifax Town’s debut Conference Premier season. After hosting Alfreton Town, league leaders Luton Town travel to The Shay on Saturday 29th March, then the rearranged fixture against fellow play-off chasers Braintree Town waits on Thursday 3rd April before a mere 24 hour rest ahead of a crucial trip to fourth placed Nuneaton Town.
Starting with the third and first placed sides respectively visiting West Yorkshire, Ainge states the players are relishing these big games knowing that positive results could well bring great rewards come May: “It’ll be good to see where we are at. Our destiny is in our own hands, we’ve got a lot of teams to play in and around us and if we beat them I think we’ll be in the play-offs. We’re going into games against the likes of Alfreton and Luton at home and we’re confident that we can beat anyone, we’re all really looking forward to it. The next four games are massive and if we can get the results that we want then we could be in a good position going into the last few games.”
Kick-off on Monday night is at 19:45 and will aired live on BT Sport. There will be live match commentary provided on Shaymen Player and updates on the Shaymen Wall and you can also follow @FCHTOnline on Twitter.
However the club have reduced entry fee for this crucial clash which will see Under 12’s admitted FREE OF CHARGE amongst other price cuts. For more information – click here
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