FC Halifax Town: Kosylo taking the step up in his stride

Football - FC Halifax Town v Carlisle. Matty Kosylo
Football - FC Halifax Town v Carlisle. Matty Kosylo

Matty Kosylo is used to taking things in his stride - just ask an increasing number of National League full-backs.

The Town winger is confident he can thrive in the fifth tier, and has started his first season in the Conference Premier in sizzling form, setting up the winner for Halifax in their 1-0 victory at Solihull Moors last Saturday.

Kosylo scored 12 goals in 35 appearances in his impressive debut season for The Shaymen last term, consistently catching the eye with his maverick dribbling skills and his ability to run with the ball at pace.

He has primarily featured on the left of midfield this season rather than his more customary role on the right, but when asked which he prefers, he said: “I don’t mind - either or really. I played a few times in the hole last season too.

“When you get space in there, they’re the positions I like to be in, picking things up in little holes and being in between the midfielders and the centre-halves. “Sometimes they don’t know what to do so it gives you that opportunity to run at them.

“Some people might criticise me that I run a bit too much and about my decision-making at times. But I know that so I just get on with it.

“I’m not playing at this level because I make every decision correctly. I just enjoy playing and I’m taking it in my stride this year.

“I don’t doubt myself. I didn’t doubt myself last season that I could make the step up.

“I was really disappointed when I didn’t go to Rochdale from Nantwich (Kosylo trained with Rochdale during the 2015-16 season). That didn’t set me back but it got me down a bit because they’d shown a lot of interest.

“I always feel I’ve got a point to prove because I didn’t feel I should have dropped that far down from when I was at Stockport when they were in the league, which was disappointing.

“But once I got my head straight when I got back to Nantwich I only had eyes for playing higher up and Halifax took a punt on me so I’m happy.

“No-one should be resting on their laurels at this level, unless they’ve been at the top and come down. I think you should always have a point to prove.”

Kosylo is playing at the highest level of his career, and has noticed differences between this division and the Conference North.

“I think you probably get more chances in the Conference North,” he said. “Teams probably aren’t as sharp because they’re not full-time so you probably get that extra second or that extra opportunity per game.

“We’ll get used to it. It’s my first time at this level but we’re here for a reason and we’ve not had a bad start, considering we’ve just come up and we’re part-time.

“I have to be a lot more defensive,” Kosylo said when asked if he’d had to adapt his own game since promotion. “I don’t really enjoy it but it’s part and parcel of the game.

“I think we’re setting up at times to be solid and then try and nick a goal, but that’s being part of a team and you get on with it.”

The beginning to Kosylo’s time at Halifax was dogged by injury problems, while his start to this campaign has also seen the winger have fitness issues, although he hopes they are now behind him.

“I felt my hamstring a bit at Chester so I went for a bit of acupuncture on the Monday and thankfully I was alright to start on the Tuesday,” he said. “I got through that, although I got a bit of cramp on my calf.

“I had acupuncture a couple of times when I was at Nantwich. I see a sports therapist in Ashton and he’s really good. He deals with a lot of boxers.

“But the acupuncture works well. I think it was more just a trapped nerve and a bit of tightness but it did the job and I got through the 90 minutes against Dover, who are a fit team.

“I feel good and I feel fit at the moment.”

Kosylo is keen for Town to build on their first win of the season last Saturday by seeing off West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley tomorrow.

“We need to get momentum because we’re going to have a lot of tough games,” he said.

“The likes of Tranmere, Hartlepool, Leyton Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge are always up there so we’ll have a lot of tough games.

“So it’s important when we can get a bit of momentum and get maybe one or two or three wins in a row, especially against the teams that are expected to struggle.

“They are important wins because they can be six-pointers come the end of the season. You’d rather have them on the board now rather than scrapping for them at the end.”

The game will be screened live on BT Sport, but Kosylo doesn’t think that will be a distraction.

“It’s a good opportunity for the lads,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve played on TV before.

“It’s not going to bother me too much, because if you start worrying about that then you take your mind off the game and you can’t do that.

“It’ll be nice but you’ve got to focus on the game. If you’re not then there’s something wrong and it might show.”