Club captain Danny Lowe believes that FC Halifax Town have the ability to add to their already impressive home record when the Shaymen entertain Cambridge United on Saturday.
The U’s sit second in the league table and have games in hand against current leaders Luton Town, but Lowe insists that although the game will be difficult, the result is there for the taking.
He said: “Hopefully we will be able to continue with our recent home form. Cambridge have been doing really well and we know that it is going to be a tough game. With the teams that have been to the Shay so far, we have managed to do well against them and hopefully that will continue.
“It is going to be very tough. We played them away but circumstances changed that game. They are a good side, did well that day and have played really well ever since. We will be expecting a very tough game.”
The Shay will host the Skrill Premier League clash, Halifax’s 16th home league game of the season. The stadium and the fans have proved to be a catalyst for good performances in Calderdale, something that gives Lowe a sense that his team-mates can finish the afternoon with another possible three points.
“The fans have been brilliant so far this year, both home and away. Our away form has been no where near as good as our home form and the fans have played a part in that. I hope that they will be there to help give us that extra bit of an advantage.”
Richard Money’s side have lost only two games all season and recently progressed to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy at the expense of their league rivals Luton Town on Tuesday night. However, away from home, the former Scunthorpe United defender’s side have only three wins to their name away from the Abbey Stadium, out of a possible 12 games. Despite this and playing mid-week, Lowe remains adamant that the result could swing either way.
“They have been very good. They have been consistent and have been first in the league for quite a while. They have died off a little bit, but they must have quality in their side because the hardest thing is to be consistent, week in, week out. They are a good side with some really good players. A big club with a lot of experience in this league. It will be a very tough game.”
He added: “They are a full-time club. They will probably have a rest today or just do a little bit of a light session. They will manage themselves properly and have a little bit more freedom. I can’t see it being a problem for them.”
The last time Town faced Cambridge was during the opening weekend of the season. As the nation watched the game in sunny East Anglia, Halifax were sent back up north having been beaten 5-1. Neil Aspin’s side were reduced to nine men, with Lowe the first departure in the first half. Looking back at the result, the captain was left devastated but he feels that it has taught the players a vital lesson about this league. A silver lining perhaps.
“I don’t think I can quite give details for this article! (what was going through his mind at the time). I was gutted but I didn’t really think about it. We were doing well. I can’t remember the challenge, I don’t even think that I made contact with him. The ref saw that I impeded him and I got sent off. I was disappointed to be sent off and see the side go down to 10 men.
“We worked hard during pre-season preparing for that first game and the lads were in good spirits. We had a good stay over the night before and the game started very well. We knew before the game that we were in for a tough game but we started so well. We went in front and it all deteriorated after that moment.”
He added: “It was important at the time that we knew that it was going to be a tough league, but that we didn’t stay down for too long. We were new to the league, and said to ourselves that we have to learn as a team. It took us quite a while, especially away from home to settle down and learn how to play away from home, but I think that we recovered pretty well after that day.
“Before we had two men sent off, and had eleven against them, we were the better side. 11 against 11, we were a lot better than them. When we do look at the league, we can see that we are sitting in a good position at the moment, and have been in the Play-Offs for a couple of times, but it is a tough league. We have been over-achieving at the moment but from the performance side, and results side, we deserve to be where we are.”
Lowe is unable to right the wrongs this weekend as he is still injured and is forced to watch the game on the sidelines. However, amid the disappointment, the defender has received good news in terms of his recovery and could be back to playing within the next month.
He said: “It’s frustrating not being able to play against anyone. Players want to play football. I’ve been injured for a while but my brace is finally off, and I can now start with light jogging and get back on with my weight sessions. It doesn’t matter who I face when I get back, I just want to get back to playing.
“My leg brace was taken off on Tuesday and I have been starting to work on my knee. I’m pretty much going to be training everyday, running everyday and building my knee up. Hopefully I am looking to be back by the end of January, but maybe by the first week in February.”
Halifax go into the game on the back of their 0-0 draw away to Wrexham last weekend. Although the dragons were reduced to 10 men, the Shaymen were unable to capitalise and left North Wales with only a point. However, Lowe was left satisfied with the result. Being unbeaten from such a well established side in this league has left the captain ecstatic.
He said: “I couldn’t make the game myself, but I listened to the commentary. It didn’t really sound like there was much happening in the game. I know that Wrexham will have felt that they have not been doing as well as they should, but they are still a big club, a full-time club with decent players.
“If somebody had said to us before the season had started that we were going to take four points off Wrexham, I am sure that everybody will have been more than happy with that.”
The Shay hosts the game on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.
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