Confidence is growing: Clean sheets boost Halifax Town

On the up: Liam Hogan
On the up: Liam Hogan
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Liam Hogan is hoping Saturday’s clean sheet at Harrogate is the first of many as Town look to get their season going.

And the classy central defender pointed to last season for evidence that now the defence is doing its job, the team will start to climb the table.

“Once we started keeping clean sheets we went on a big run,” he said.

“It becomes second nature. Every time the ball came back to us, the midfield knew they could rely on us and pushed on.

“It is all about trust in the team and we have built the tempo up which has given us a good base to work from.”

Town kept one clean sheet in the opening eight games of last season then kept the opposition at bay in six of the next seven as they surged into promotion contention.

The back line was rejigged in the summer and Hogan believes the players are becoming more comfortable playing alongside each other.

“There is always big expectations especially after we kept so many clean sheets last season and conceded so few goals,” he said.

“We brought in new personnel and it is going to take time to gel.

“We are working on it in training all the time.”

The key to keeping Guiseley at bay in the second half at Nethermoor and keeping a clean sheet at Harrogate was a simple one - play as far away from your own area as possible.

“As a team we have tightened up and worked higher up the pitch,” said Hogan. “We did it in the second half against Guiseley and again at Harrogate.

“We know that when we have most of the possession we are pretty safe at the back. It is when we are conceding possession and making silly mistakes we are going to let in goals.”

TOWN loan striker Terry Dixon is on stand-by for the Republic of Ireland under 21 squad to play in Liechtenstein on October 11.

Dixon, signed by Bradford City on deadline day and immediately loaned to the Shaymen, has already won two under 21 caps and played for his country at under 16 and under 17 levels.