When Fleet last met FC Halifax Town, a 2-0 home win earned Daryl McMahon’s side their first back-to-back wins of the season. Now any second victory over the Shaymen would produce 2018’s first successive wins – but the visitors will have to do what no other Fleet side has done and that’s to win in West Yorkshire.
Five defeats and a draw have been the Fleet’s lot at The Shay from 2002 to 2008 but with managerless Halifax lacking a win in their last seven games, McMahon will believe there’s every chance of erasing a poor record at the 14,000-capacity ground.
Fleet broke their recent duck courtesy of Luke Coulson’s excellent individual strike against Solihull Moors and his performance will do his cause for an instant recall to the starting eleven no harm at all. Coulson has started 18 of the past 20 games but reacted to his temporary demotion to the substitutes’ bench with the sort of fight and eagerness that McMahon has demanded of his squad.
“We’re going to try and win as many games as we can,” McMahon said. “Our players still have plenty to play for and prove and we now have two quick games, back to back, against Halifax and Woking to get some momentum going.”
Negotiations have continued apace this week as the Fleet boss looks to strengthen his side ahead of three games in eight days and the return of Kenny Clark ahead of schedule last weekend will have felt like a new signing in itself.
An actual new signing arrived in the form of attacking player Corey Whitely, announced on Friday morning. Whitely will have his first training workout with his new teammates ahead of the match, with McMahon overseeing a session to take place at Sheffield United’s training ground as the squad stop off en route to Halifax.
The opposition’s head scout and ex-Altrincham boss Neil Young will take charge of the home side on Saturday ahead of an expected announcement next week of their new manager. The Shaymen were in excellent shape when they visited the Kuflink Stadium, lying fourth in the table, but after they fell to a Sean Shields brace, their form evaporated and manager Billy Heath discovered just how quickly fortunes change in football. Having guided Town to promotion via last season’s play-offs, he was relieved of his duties after a home defeat to Leyton Orient with his side having won just two of their previous 19 games.
It has left Halifax just five points clear of improving Solihull Moors and temporary manager Young steadied the ailing squad with an impressive 1-1 draw at then leaders Wrexham last weekend. Young, like his opposite number, has come close to landing a couple of signings to strengthen the Halifax squad but drawn a blank as they have slipped through his fingers. He could be without defenders Josh Wilde and Scott McManus but the chief threat to Fleet will come from big striker Tom Denton (pictured above) who has scored 10 goals this season and winger Matty Kosylo who, despite admitting a loss of confidence in recent weeks, has been tipped for greater things.
Ticket prices at the MBi Shay Stadium are Adults £18; Concessions (Over 65s and Students with ID) £15; U16s £5; and U7s £3.