As FC Halifax Town embark on making their claim for the play-offs, tough opposition stand in their way within the space of only a few days, with Barnet the first for The Shaymen to battle for at least fifth place in the league table.
Neil Aspin’s side boast an impressive seven game unbeaten record, having only conceded against Hyde throughout that period of time. The last three away games have all been conquered by Halifax, but Paul Marshall understands that a trip to The Hive will be a difficult experience.
He said: “It is a big game for us. We know that we need to go there and get the result. The results went well for us during the week, so if we can on Saturday, it will put us in a better position.
“It will be a tough game, they are a decent side. I know that they like to play football and have a decent pitch, so it could be a tough game for us.”
Results this week have gone in the favour for Town, with Grimsby only picking up one point from a possible six, Braintree losing to Macclesfield and Barnet drawing 1-1 against Southport. The Shaymen still sit in fifth place having not played since their victory over Nuneaton last weekend, leaving the players ecstatic with the ability to pounce and take advantage of the fallen points.
“Hopefully we can make the gap bigger between us and the rest of the teams who are chasing for the play-offs. We know that we are going there and will be looking to try and win the game.
“The lads were buzzing about the results, which they could not believe that Aldershot beat Alfreton and Macclesfield beat Braintree. They were both at home as well. We were surprised at that, but it was the bit of luck that we needed.”
Barnet could be Halifax’s most difficult opposition on the road, with both sides eager for the vital three points. A win for Halifax could extend their lead over The Bees to five points, whilst also having a game in hand yet to play. The reverse outcome would move the North London outfit above The Shaymen. For the midfielder, he believes that the three points are there for the taking, just as they have been on previous occasions.
He said: “At the time when we beat Alftreton, they were third in the league, and we beat Luton who were at the top of the league. I don’t think that anyone is nervous ahead of either Barnet or Grimsby.
Everyone is confident at the moment. We are on a decent run and we just need to keep it going.”
Chris Smith’s 85th minute winner against The Boro on Saturday continued the side’s impressive form, both home and away, a rarity for Halifax this season. Marshall is more than pleased with how the squad have been playing and is hoping of more of the same in future games to come.
“It is a great achievement for the lads, especially being a part-time team. It just shows the quality of players that we have got so that we can go on runs like that.
“It took a bit of pressure off us. We are going into the game wanting to win it, but we know that we don’t have to win it. It has taken the pressure off us, but as I said, I think we can go there and get the win.”
The former Manchester City trainee was substituted at half time against Nuneaton, due to illness. Josh Wilson stepped in and eventually provided the winner on the verge of full-time. Although feeling disorientated last week, Marshall insists that he is raring to go against Barnet.
“On Friday night I weren’t too well. I had the flu and had a bad sleep. During the game I thought that I was going to faint, I felt dead dizzy. I told the gaffer (Aspin) at half-time that I couldn’t carry on. I am fully fit now, training tonight, so should be fine for Saturday.”
Saturday’s game could be classed as a six-pointer, with the points crucial for both sides. The play-offs are beckoning, but this game could define where each side could finish come the end of April. For Marshall, it is crucial that Halifax can pass these next two games unscathed.
He said: “Yeah 100 per cent, and that is a good thing because I know that we need to get through these next two games, but hopefully we can win our last three and will see where that takes us.”
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