FC Halifax Town: Town boss is up for the battle

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Cheltenham at the Shay, Halifax. Darren Kelly
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Cheltenham at the Shay, Halifax. Darren Kelly
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Darren Kelly is adamant Town can get out of their current plight and says he is up for the battle.

Halifax head to Chester on Saturday (3.0) on the back of a 7-0 trouncing at Grimsby - the second time they’ve conceded seven goals in their last four games.

It was Town’s heaviest defeat since losing 7-0 at Macclesfield in March 1996.

Kelly has no doubts Halifax will turn things round, despite conceding 18 goals in their last four matches.

“We will turn it round,” he insisted. “I knew what I was coming into when I was given the job.

“There’s nobody who loves a battle more than me.

“I love a battle and that’s what we’re in.

“We have to battle for each other. I’ve been there, I’ve experienced it and come out the other end and it’s a learning curve the players will get stronger from.

“I think it’s important we reflect on the performance, have a discussion and we’ll go into Saturday’s game with a good game plan and hope to get three points on the board.”

Shaun Tuton was taken off at half-time on Tuesday with a foot injury and will be assessed before Saturday’s match.

Kelly is hopeful of adding another player to his squad for that game, with Town able to sign an unlimited number of emergency or youth loans, although only five are allowed in any match-day squad.

The Town boss is confident the club’s fortunes will improve but accepts that must happen sooner rather than later.

“We’re only in the job a week. We know it’s going to be hard and it may get worse before it gets better,” he warned.

“We have absolutely no doubt we can turn it around and it will come, but we need to start doing it quickly.

“You look at Tuesday’s performance - that can’t happen, that can’t continue, things need to change.

“The players gave the effort - is that enough to get us up the league? I don’t know.

“We’re constantly looking at players to bring in.

“I understand the embargoes around that with the fact you can only have so many loans or so many players and you have to wait for the transfer window, things like that.

“But we as a staff will continue to work hard to improve and get us up the league.

“After Saturday’s game there’s going to be a clear week where we can do a lot of work on things.

“At the minute, we’ve been coming in on a Monday, doing a bit of recovery work and a bit of shape work, but not with the intensity and energy you’d want because you’ve got a game on the Tuesday.

“Then that’s repeated on the Thursday, so we haven’t been able to work with the players properly yet with the high intensity and quality we’d like.

“When the starts coming around, it’ll be great.”

Kelly believes a win at Chester can lift his side’s fragile confidence and be the start of an upturn in fortunes.

“It all starts with training, making it lively and effective and doing the right things, getting into their heads,” he said.

“It’s such a fine line between winning and losing.

“Yes we lost on Tuesday but we could go out and produce a good result on Saturday, which then gets us a bit of confidence.

“After Altrincham, I thought we could kick on, but we didn’t because even though you get a win, confidence is on the fence because of the previous loses.

“At the minute confidence is low so we have to get a win and build that up, get another win, build it up again and so on, then momentum starts and we get ourselves up the league.”

Kelly says work is happening behind the scenes to turn things round, and is calling for Town fans to be patient and keep faith in his management.

“Everything’s a work-in-progress,” he said. “I came in with my eyes open to a lot of things that we’ve started to change already.

“The chairman and the board have been excellent in supporting that, but we have to start changing the mentality.

“Yes, they’re part-time, but we want to change it to a full-time mentality.

“We have to work harder, get sharper.

“You look at the difference between us and Grimsby - they’re full-time, we’re part-time, but I’m going to change that.

“It’s going to take time but I would ask the supporters to keep in good voice, trust in what we’re doing and support us because they can rest assured, come the end of the season, we’ll not be where we are now.”