MATT Crooks is more used to playing against the cream of young talent from across the country than turning out in the cut and thrust of the Blue Square Bet North.
But the 18-year-old on loan at Halifax from neighbours Huddersfield is more than happy to be plying his trade at the Shay.
“When I play with the academy at Huddersfield it is a good standard,” he said.
“You play against teams like Manchester City and Manchester United and the players you are up against are all technically very good.
“But this is faster and more physical and it is good to come here and get that side of my game progressing.”
As with fellow loanee Aron Wint, Crooks believes a spell at the Shay will be a major benefit to his development as a professional footballer.
“It is a good step up for me and should make me a better player,” he said.
“It is a good place to come to with them pushing for promotion and hopefully I can help them in that.”
Crooks, who has also had a spell at the Manchester United academy and has a pro contract at the Galpharm that will take him to the end of next season, might have made a dream debut for the Shaymen at Hyde FC seven days ago.
But, having joined the game from the bench, he was unable to convert a last gasp close range chance that might have secured maximum points.
“It is one I am trying to forget, but it is not going away easily,” he said.
“It was hard but I should be taking those chances and hopefully I will get more.”
After the high of a draw with the leaders, it was back down to earth with a bump in midweek as Town crashed to a fifth home defeat of the season against Bishop’s Stortford.
“It was like attack versus defence at times,” he said.
“They would hoof it up field and we would go back at them .
“But to be fair to them they held firm and we could not find the breakthrough goal.
You have to win your home games. Home form is crucial.”
Town fans can book their places on the official supporters’ bus to Bishop’s Stortford next Saturday by calling 07707 143094. The cost will be £16 and transport leaves the Shay at 10am.
Halifax Town Commercial Group is presenting an evening with Tim and Joe, starring Radio Leeds duo Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden.
They will be at Belgrave Social Club to answer questions on a range of subjects on Thursday, May 3 (7pm).
The cost of the tickets for the event is £5 and includes supper and further details can be obtained by calling 07707 143094.