All you need to know ahead of Saturday's game with the Shaymen
WHO? FC Halifax Town to give them their full name. Formed in 2008, you might just know them as “Halifax Town”. If you do, you’re wrong. The old Halifax Town went out of business at the end of the 2007/08 and a new club was formed in its place and, voila, FC Halifax Town.
THE LONG ROAD BACK. Having re-formed, the Shaymen were placed in the Northern Premier League Division One in their first season of existence. Since that time they’ve won three promotions, including two championships. Last season, they triumphed in the Blue Square North Play-Offs, beating Brackley Town in the final to clinch promotion back to non-league’s top flight to cap a remarkable turn in fortunes. Good on ‘em.
LAST TIME HERE. The Town hammered the old Halifax 5-0 on the Shaymen’s last visit to Kenilworth Road in April 2002. The Hatters were marching to promotion in Division 3 (now League 2) at the time whilst the visitors sat at the foot of the table. Goals from Matthew Spring, Chris Coyne, Steve Howard, Dean Crowe and Jean-Louis Valois sealed an emphatic victory.
HEAD-2-HEAD. Whether old or new, Halifax will be looking for their first win over the Hatters at Kenilworth Road. The Shaymen have only ever won once against the Hatters down the years and that came back in May 1966 at the Shay. Overall, the Town have won eight, drawn three and lost once against Saturday’s visitors. Halifax’s only draw at Kenilworth Road came in September 1969. So impressive was the Shaymen’s Chris Nicholl at centre-half, the Town signed him the next day.
IN CHARGE. The man behind the Shaymen’s success is former Port Vale centre-back Neil Aspin. He took charge in 2008/09 and in his first two seasons Halifax won back-to-back promotions. After losing in the Play-Offs in his third term, Aspin masterminded the promotion last season via the Play-Offs after a fifth place finish in the Blue Square North.
FORTRESS SHAY. Halifax will probably be wishing Saturday’s game was taking place at their Shay ground, given their form on home soil already this season. Aspin’s side have won six of their seven matches at the Shay, dropping just two points in the process. It’s not like they’ve beaten any old clubs either, they’ve beaten Wrexham and, impressively, Grimsby – the latter 4-0.
AWAY THE LADS. On the flipside, the Shaymen will be wanting to improve their poor away record when they visit Kenilworth Road on Saturday. Aspin’s side have yet to register a win on the road as yet and have only gained a solitary point from five games.
KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU. There’ll be a familiar face at the heart of the Halifax defence at the weekend in the shape of Simon Ainge. The former Hatters centre-half joined the Shaymen this summer following his release from Kenilworth Road. He played 27 times for the Town last season and is an ever-present for Halifax so far this term.
ROLL-UP, ROLL-UP. Tickets are available on the door on Saturday but it’s always best to buy in advance either in person at the ticket office or online. Click here for further details.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. Alex Lawless could make a return after missing the last two games with a back problem. Striker Jon Shaw played 30 minutes for the development squad in the week but the game with the Shaymen comes too soon. Alex Wall and Anthony Charles are both fully-fit leaving defender Danny Fitzsimons as the only definite absentee.
STILL SAYS: “I think that teams sometimes can appear to be doing better than you think or worse than you think. We’ve only played 12 games.
“It takes a little bit of time to sort it all out. I think within eight to 10 games you’d probably know where your strengths and weaknesses are.
“Probably most of the teams there would think, ‘we need to be a bit stronger here’, or ‘perhaps need to change this’.
“Halifax, along with us and the teams that are around us, would look at their start and be reasonably comfortable with how they’ve started.
“But it doesn’t always tell a story, it’s a long, long grinding season.”
LIVE & DIRECT. We’ll have all the news as it happens from Kenilworth Road. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it lutontown.co.uk, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds. And keep an eye on our Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts too for good measure #COYH.