FC Halifax Town: Half of last season’s squad expected to stay, says Heath

Billy Heath
Billy Heath

Town boss Billy Heath expects around half of last season’s squad to stay on at the club and wants to work with a group of about 20 players next term.

Heath has had answers from nearly all the Halifax squad about who is staying or going, but would not reveal which players will remain at The Shay.

The Town manager also refused to comment on rumours linking North Ferriby striker Tom Denton to the club, but denied any link to ex-Halifax defender Ryan Toulson.

Heath said: “I know who is coming and going. I’ve got answers from 99 per cent of the squad and I’m happy with who’s staying.

“They’ll give us plenty of experience.

“We’ve got a lot of players who we are in contact with, it’s just a case of getting them over the line.

“But I’m happy with how it’s going.

“I like to work with about 20 in a squad and I’m confident we can get that number of quality players together.”

The Shaymen will be starting pre-season training on Saturday, June 25 and have identified two sites that could be used.

Heath wants his squad to get up to speed quickly when they report back from their summer break and is excited about the start of pre-season after returning from holiday last week.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait for the first day,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do between now and then, a lot of players to bring in.

“Hopefully we’ll have the majority of the squad in place by then because I like to have the squad together from day one.

“I’ve been away for five days but I’ve still be on the phone a lot.

“This league is going to be so tough so we have to hit the ground running. We don’t want to be playing catch-up.

“Pre-season is massively important for that.

“There were a lot of changes last summer at the club, even during pre-season, and I don’t want to happen again.

“The players have to know each other on and off the pitch because that team spirit is vital - that won us 12 to 15 points last season.

“That desire and spirit helped us turn games around when we were 2-0 down to win 3-2.”

Heath was delighted to make Guiseley keeper Steve Drench his first signing of the summer.

“I’ve known about him for a long time with him playing against us for Guiseley.

“He’s confident, experienced and he’s at a good age.

“He’s a top keeper at this level and it’s a great start for us in terms of signings.”

Meanwhile, chairman David Bosomworth has refused to comment on whether Town will receive any share of the fee should Jamie Vardy move from Leicester to Arsenal.

Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley says Halifax are in line to receive a sell-on clause, with Pilley’s club rumoured to be in line for 20 per cent of any fee.

He told the Blackpool Gazette: “There is a sell-on clause.

“I would not want to say how much.

“It would be inappropriate to suggest how much.

“Of course any money received is gratefully received.

“It would not stop with us, it is also passed on to Halifax.

“A sell-on clause is pretty standard and Halifax have a sell-on clause so it filters down the football pyramid and it helps a lot of clubs at different levels.”