FC Halifax Town: We will surprise people this season, says Carroll

Football - FC Halifax Town v Accrington Stanley. Mark Carroll
Football - FC Halifax Town v Accrington Stanley. Mark Carroll

Assistant manager Mark Carroll believes Halifax will surprise a few teams in the National League this season.

Town’s part-time status and relatively modest budget should preclude them from a repeat of the last time they were promoted into the division in 2013-14, when Neil Aspin somehow guided them to an astonishing play-off place.

But Carroll is confident The Shaymen have enough quality and the right mentality to thrive in the fifth-tier.

“Every game will be as if we were playing the top four or five last season,” he said. “It will have that intensity and quality.

“The higher you go the more mistakes get punished but we’re well equipped for it.

“We’ve got competition for places in every position and the lads are really looking forward to it.

“I think we will surprise a few people.

“Defensively we’re solid. You’ve seen what Connor Oliver can do in midfield. Bohan Dixon is a threat going forward.

“Dion Charles, Matty Kosylo and Josh Macdonald are creative players out wide.

“And Adam Morgan looks refreshed and as if he can add some stardust to things.

“I don’t think we’ll lack quality. I think we’ll be very competitive.

“We’ve got a good bunch of lads and we’ve added some quality.

“The lads that have come in have fitted in really well and the changing room is good.

“A good team spirit is worth a good 15 points a season extra. When other teams have thrown in the towel we’ll keep going and snatch a few results towards the end or hang on in there and put our bodies on the line. We’ve got lads who will do that.”

The assistant boss is under no illusions that Halifax will not dominate as many games as they did last season.

“We’ve gone from being a big fish to a relatively average fish,” he said. “There’s some big teams in the division, spending big money.

“That’s why the games against full-time teams in pre-season are good because you can work on your defensive shape and you might not see the ball for two or three minutes and you might get punished if you make a mistake.

“Defensively we look solid and we’ve got options. At times we could be a hard nut to crack and the boys going forward could hit a few teams on the break.”

Home form was crucial to Halifax’s success back in 2013-14, with Aspin’s men losing just once at home in the league all season and only champions Luton winning more home games. This time round, Carroll reckons Town will be a match for anyone at The Shay this season.

“I think we’ve got a great chance of winning against anyone at The Shay and we can make it a bit of a fortress,” he said.

“Then whatever you pick up away from home is a bonus.

“But I fancy us against anyone on our own patch, if the fans get behind us we can shock a few people, especially some of the big teams.”

It will be the highest level Carroll and Billy Heath have managed at in their 17-year career together, and the Town number two says they can’t wait to get started.

He added: “It’s great going to different grounds and different teams.

“We gave up the opportunity with North Ferriby to come to Halifax and get them back up, so we’re a season late in preparing for it.

“But it’s great to pit your wits against some of those teams.

“We’ve been told when we’ve gone up through the league before that ‘it will be difficult’ and ‘this might be as far as you can go’ but we’ve proved people wrong before.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win the league but it’s always great to have doubters. That gives you extra motivation to prove people wrong. We’re really looking forward to it.”