FC Halifax Town: Southport preview

Action from FC Halifax Town v Southport earlier this season
Action from FC Halifax Town v Southport earlier this season

Jim Harvey insists his FC Halifax Town side are ready for Southport tomorrow (3.0) after their gruelling FA Trophy clash with Gateshead on Wednesday.

The Shaymen played out an exhausting 120 minutes in the North-East in midweek before securing a place in the semi-finals of the competition in a penalty shoot-out.

They now turn their attention back to the league and their fight for survival when they visit Southport on Saturday.

Harvey is confident his team can recover from their midweek exertions and that the character they showed at Gateshead bodes well for their survival scrap.

He said: “Obviously it’s going to be difficult looking ahead to the weekend in terms of us playing extra-time, but it we’ll deal with that. It’s a big game for us.

“The main positive we can take from the (Gateshead) game is the guts and determination we showed. The boys don’t know when they’re beaten.

“We’re still very much in a battle. As well as we have done, we’re still very much in a battle.

“These other teams are responding, they’re starting to pick up points and this will go right to the wire.

“But we have improved and we’ve got a great spirit in the squad - we’re ready for it.”

Southport go into the game on the back of an impressive 2-1 win at Dover, which halted a run of eight games without a win.

A Halifax win would drag them only six points behind 15th placed Southport, who have only scored once in their last three home matches.

Harvey feels his side will benefit from the battling manner in which they progressed in the FA Trophy, and feels that result will be a timely shot in the arm for his squad ahead of Saturday’s clash.

“That’s going to help them,” he said. “It was a massive game for both clubs and we came out on top.

“That will keep the confidence going.

“The character I’ve talked about through this run was in evidence again on Wednesday.

“They were full of character and the longer the game went on the tougher and bigger the performances were becoming.

“Matty Brown, who I thought was very tentative all night, became a real giant for us and he’s ended up with the winning penalty.

“If it had been in the first-half he wouldn’t have taken it in the frame of mind he was in.

“But at the end of the game he was happy to take it.

“Nicky Wroe and Kingsley James started getting things going in midfield, Josh Macdonald gave us the width and a bit of flair.

“Shaq (McDonald) has got a terrific goal and maybe should have wrapped it up right at the end - what a chance that was.

“But it’s a brilliant result.”

Only Halifax have conceded more home goals in the division than Southport, who won eight of their first 10 games under manager Dino Maamria when he was appointed in November.

Since then, they’ve won only once in nine matches.

Louis Almond is their top-scorer with 11 goals and has two in his last three appearances.

Defender Max Cartwright is suspended after he was sent-off in their win at Dover last time out.

Billy Whitehouse could return to the squad after being left out for the trip to Gateshead, with Jim Harvey expecting to have a fully-fit squad to pick from.