FC Halifax Town welcome new signing Chris Smith.
The 32-year-old defender has joined the Shaymen from League Two side York, where he made 222 league appearances over two spells with the Minstermen.
Good friends with Lee Nogan, Smith knows that it’s only natural to come to a club like Halifax: “I’ve known the gaffer for a while and I know Lee Nogan from my York days, I played with him and under him and there are a few lads there that I already know.
“I spoke to lads before and made my decision, there are nothing but good things coming back. I remember when they were in the league so they’ve got a good pedigree and massive potential.”
The York captain of 2011/12 season brings with him to the Shay a wealth of experience in a relatively young squad: “Neil said he’s got a young side with some very good young players and that he just needs that little bit of experience and communication at the back.
“I’ve obviously come as a defender. Don’t get me wrong I like playing in the holding role but he (Neil Aspin) spoke to me and said that I have to get my fitness right and prove it to him. We had a friendly on Saturday and I played 45 minutes and came through okay. I just hope I can go there and fit in because obviously you have to fit in with the lads and then try to earn that place.
“The gaffer hasn’t said I’m coming to get my shirt, I have to earn my shirt and you’d expect that at any club, it doesn’t matter if you’re stepping up a league or if you’re dropping down a league, I’m happy that I’m at Halifax and I’m going to be working hard to get my shirt.”
Aspin and co. have a very impressive record at the Shay, and Smith knows this, which is partly why he is so excited to join Town: “For any side to do well you need good home form and Neil’s stats speak volumes.
“I came here with York a few seasons ago and we drew 1-1, it took us to the last minute to get the equaliser but from what I remember it was a new stadium and the pitch was lovely. Obviously they are well supported which I’m looking forward to.”
Based on home form alone, Halifax would be top of the league, one point clear of table-toppers Luton, and that consistent home form is a precious asset to have:
“In any league, you have to have consistent form and if you do you’ll end up doing well.
“Obviously Halifax have had a good season and over the last few weeks I’ve kept a close eye on them. I think that any team that has just been promoted has ambition, and say that they’re going to do this and that and want to get the goals, but you have to realistic and the main thing is survival. But Halifax have seemed to just kick on and are just outside the playoffs.”
Versatility has been an extremely important part to life in the Skrill Premier for boss Aspin, as he has seen one of his star midfielders, Matty Pearson slot in at right-back due to injury, along with having to play many other players out of position. Versatility is a particular strong suit for the experienced defender and while he enjoys playing in the holding role, he knows what he is at Halifax Town to do: “Centre-back is my best position. I do like the bit of freedom you get in central midfield in the holding role.
“I’ve played there quite a few times and I think I probably like that a bit better just because of the novelty of having a bit more of the ball, and you get to go forward and score which everyone likes doing, but my best position is centre-half.
“I’d like to think that I’ve got five or six goals a season so with Marc Roberts’ long throw and set pieces, I hope I could chip in with a few.”
Smith comes into Halifax just as the team gear up for their Saturday match with none other than Smith’s former club, Tamworth: “I know a few of their players and I remember the manager. I do know they are second bottom so they are going to come here fired up.
“Their manager always gets the players up for it, they are quite direct so it’ll be a bit of a scrappy game. But the lads I played with there had two great years, winning the Conference North and surviving on one of the lowest budgets.”
If it were up to him he’d play on Saturday but Smith knows that he has to earn his place in the already strong Halifax team, but with his attitude and experience, he seems destined to do well at the Shay: “I’m going to train Tuesday and Thursday this week and see if I’m ready for it but it’s up to the manager. I’m raring to go, when you’ve been away for a little bit you just want to play but you’ve got to be realistic and you’ve got to make sure you help the team.”
If you can’t make it to the Shay to welcome Chris Smith against his former club Tamworth on Saturday, the media team will, as always, have you covered. Courtesy of live updates to the Shaymen Wall, live commentary and extended highlights available on Shaymen Player during and after the match.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist