The play-offs are upon us and the most important time of the season for the top clubs. This year the Shaymen are involved in the prestigious four teams. FC Halifax Town finished third in the league, setting up a semi-final round against fourth placed Salford City. Halifax will look to get an advantage in the away leg on Wednesday as they travel up to Manchester to play Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley’s men with the return leg at the Shay Stadium on Sunday. We spoke to Salford City secretary and supporter Andy Giblin about his club’s season and what he expects in the upcoming ties.
How has the season gone for you?
Our first ever season at this level of the game has exceeded expectations. Consolidation was the aim after consecutive promotions but the coaching staff and playing squad have managed to sustain a successful play-off push. The FA Cup wasn’t as much of a distraction this season but even though we’ve had spells of patchy form we can’t help but be satisfied by the progress we’ve made.
What have been the standout games for you this season?
Both games against AFC Fylde were memorable – the 3-3 draw at their place early in the season was a tremendous advert for non-league football and then we beat them 5-0 in the return at Moor Lane. The 3-0 home win over Kidderminster Harriers was a terrific performance and both games against our local rivals FC United of Manchester were great occasions. The Halifax game at our place was an exciting evening but the less said about that Saturday afternoon at The Shay the better…
You haven’t managed to beat Halifax this season, will anything be done differently this time?
I’m sure the gaffers (Anthony Johnson & Bernard Morley) will have learned from those two games and will have some tricks up their sleeves for the play-offs. They’re certainly aware of the task that lies ahead of them but their track record is good and homework will have been thoroughly done. Not conceding injury time equalisers or four goals during a single half of football should be on the list of things to improve on.
Which players should Halifax keep a close eye on and why?
We have a few – defenders Simon Grand and Michael Nottingham have scored 19 times between them this season and are always a threat. We have players like John Johnston and Richie Allen who can produce a bit of individual brilliance as well as hard-working forwards Mike Phenix and Jordan Hulme. The foundation of Salford’s success over the past few years has been hard graft and a never-say-die approach so just about anyone can chip in on the day.
Prediction for the two legs?
I think it will be close, with perhaps only a goal in it over the two legs. We’d be happy to take any sort of advantage back to The Shay and see what happens from there. My powers of prediction are not good so I shall say no more than that!
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