Match Preview: Halifax vs Shots

FC Halifax Town v Aldershot Town – Match Preview – Saturday 16th February 2019

Shots make the trip up to FC Halifax Town tomorrow afternoon in search of victory that has alluded them since the 1-0 win over Braintree Town back in November. Along with Barnet, Shots and Halifax have the joint worst scoring record in the league with 26 goals. But form and stats count for nothing once the whistle blows, can the Shots blow the Shaymen away? Chris Woods previews the game…

Shots Squad:
Shots were boosted by the return of Reece Grant on Tuesday night after he’d been missing with an abscess on his hip. The Shots did lose Lewis Kinsella in Saturday’s defeat to Eastleigh with an injury to his knee ligaments, he is set to miss the next 6-8 weeks. James Rowe and George Fowler remain long-term injuries and out of the pair of Shamir Fenelon and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong, Fenelon is the closest to a return to first-team action, which could be as early as tomorrow.

Name: FC Halifax Town
Founded: 2008 (following the demise of Halifax Town AFC)
Nickname: The Shaymen
Manager: Jamie Fullarton
Stadium: The MBI Shay Stadium
2017/18 National League position: 16th
2018/19 Current position: 16th

Brief History:
After almost 100 years, Halifax Town AFC were wound up following considerable tax debts in 2008. FC Halifax Town were formed in time for the following season, but having not been accepted into the Conference, Conference North or Northern Premier League Premier Division, they were eventually accepted into the Northern Premier League Division 1 North. Under Neil Aspin, the club achieved consecutive title and promotions in 2010 & 2011. The reached the play-offs in their first season in the Conference North and did so again the following season, going on to clinch promotion to Non-League’s top tier. They reached the play-offs in their first season in the Conference Premier, losing out to eventual winners Cambridge United. Two seasons later, they were relegated to the National League North, yet still won the FA Trophy Final at Wembley. Under new manager Billy Heath, they bounced straight back up and began last season strongly, only to finish a disappointing 16th, Heath departing mid-season.

The Gaffer:
Jamie Fullarton was appointed First Team Manager in February 2018. The Scottish manager has had a well-travelled career which began at St Mirren, before joining French outfit Bastia in in 1996 for a season. He then played in the Premier League with Crystal Palace before briefly moving back to Scotland with a stint at Dundee United. He returned to England to play at Brentford, Southend United and Chesterfield and then ended his playing career in Singapore. He moved to Spain to set up his own academy before coaching back in England at Bristol Rovers and Bolton Wanderers. He was given the Notts County manager’s job in 2016 but was only in charge for two short months. He joined Halifax halfway through last season where he replaced Billy Heath.

Fullarton conducted a major overhaul of his playing squad over the summer, releasing thirteen players and losing six others. Notable departures included; Scott McManus, Michael Collins, Jake Hibbs and Mike Fondop.. Several of last season’s players re-joined Heath, who took up the reigns at Alfreton, including last season’s top scorer Tom Denton, although Denton has since joined Chesterfield.

Just seven players remained at The Shay, including goalkeeper Sam Johnson, Skipper Matty Brown and tricky winger Matty Kosylo. Fullarton brought in a total of fourteen new players, nine of whom have Football League experience. Nathan Clark, Ryan Sellers and Josh Staunton have bolstered the Halifax defence, along with Jacob Hanson who made his loan move from Bradford City permanent in January. Dayle Southwell, Jonathan Edwards and Jordan Preston bolstered the attack with James Ferry and Scott Quigley joining on loan from EFL clubs in the winter.

Saturday’s referee is unknown at the time of writing.

Rob Worrall and a special guest will be providing live BBC Surrey Sport commentary of the game on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary, to interact you can find Rob on Twitter at @RobShot66.