Match Preview: Shots v Halifax

Aldershot Town v FC Halifax Town Match Preview – Saturday 17th August 2019

Following Tuesday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Bromley, Aldershot Town are at the EBB Stadium once again on Saturday to take on early National League pacesetters, FC Halifax Town. BBC Surrey Sport’s Rob Worrall previews the game…

Shots Squad:
Manager Danny Searle will still be without Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong due to a hamstring injury picked up at Solihull. Ollie O’Dwyer is also a doubt with a hip related problem, as is James Rowe, who sat out the Bromley game still nagged by a foot injury that he picked up at Woking and hampered him at Solihull Moors. Meanwhile defender Kodi Lyons-Foster is close to a return following his pre-season ankle injury.

Name: FC Halifax Town
Founded: 2008 (following the demise of Halifax Town AFC)
Nickname: The Shaymen
Manager: Pete Wild
Stadium: The MBI Shay Stadium
2018/19 National League position: 15th
2019/20 Current position: 2nd

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. They 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 Billy Heath, they bounced straight back up and began the 2017-18 season strongly, only to finish a disappointing 16th, Heath departing mid-season. Jamie Fullarton took the helm which initially saw an upturn in fortunes, only for them to fall away, once again finishing 16th. Fullarton stayed and recruited through the summer, only to resign just a few weeks before the start of the season.

The Gaffer:
Pete Wild was appointed manager of FC Halifax Town in July 2019. Wild is a lifelong Oldham Athletic fan, that was running their Academy side when suddenly propelled into the role of Caretaker-Manager in December 2018, after the sacking of Frankie Bunn. Incredibly, he guided the struggling Athletic side to back-to-back wins and then an FA Cup victory over Premier League Fulham before standing aside after eight games, with the appointment of former Manchester United start Paul Scholes. Scholes famously lasted less than a month in the role, so Wild found himself once again in temporary charge, only to stand down for personal reasons in May 2019. Once again, Wild made great impact early on and guided Halifax to three straight wins and the top of the early National League table, before suffering defeat for the first time against ten-man Wrexham on Tuesday evening.

Most of the summer comings and goings at Halifax were conducted by Fullerton and when Wild took charge in July 2019, he inherited a squad of fifteen players, with only modest room for manoeuvre. Arguably, Halifax’s biggest loss this close season was Winger Matty Kosylo to AFC Fylde. Eleven players remain at The Shay from last season, including keeper Sam Johnson, defenders Nathan Clarke and Matty Brown, midfielder Cameron King and Striker Dayle Southwell. Incoming players include; defender Jerome Binnom-Williams (Chesterfield), midfielders Liam Nolan and Danny Williams from Accrington Stanley and forwards Jamie Allen and Tobi Sho-Silva from Dover Athletic.

Saturday’s referee is Benjamin Speedie who was promoted to cover National League games this summer and has taken charge of just once match to date.

BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall and a special guest will be covering the game live on Saturday. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.