town have to be better

BOSS Neil Aspin has warned his players to expect more stern tests as they bid to clinch a second successive promotion.

The Evo Stik Premier Division leaders entertain struggling Ashton United at the Shay tomorrow (3.0).

They will be looking to up their game after behind held to a goalless draw on home soil by promotion hopefuls Worksop in midweek.

And the Town boss hinted that he might tinker with his starting line up to face the Manchester outfit.

“We will be tested in the run in,” said Aspin. “We will not just march on, we have to work hard and Tuesday night showed that.

“Worksop defended deeply, didn’t push the full backs on, competed well and made it difficult, but I would expect us to play better

“I felt it was right to start with the team that had beaten Nantwich the week before.

“Tuesday was not as good a performance as that and that is something we can look at.

“But there won’t be many changes tomorrow - if any.”

Scott Phelan returned to the squad in midweek, although he never got off the bench.

Scott Metcalfe was the remaining fit player to miss out completely and could be in line for a recall.

There was a real sense of disappointment round the ground at the final whistle on Tuesday.

But it was a draw that kept Worksop at arms length and in that respect it had to be considered a good point.

“I think after any game we draw people will be disappointed because they want to see us win,” said Aspin. “And I am no different.

“But sometimes you have to take a point, move on and start again.

“Home or away we set out to win games - if you do that and are proactive you give yourselves a chance.”

Aspin added that he and his players would have to take the rough with the smooth in the run in to the end of the campaign.

The previous week’s six-goal thrashing of Nantwich was somewhat overshadowed on Tuesday with Liam Hogan sent off in the draw - he will be available tomorrow despite the red card - followed by the news that James Dean could be out for the season with a knee injury.

“We had won 6-0 at Nantwich on a really good pitch the previous week, but sometimes football doesn’t run smoothly,” said Aspin.

“Now we have lost James Dean to injury and Liam Hogan to a sending off and it has not been as good a week.”

Ashton may be hovering dangerously close to the Premier Division drop zone, but last weekend they beat promotion hopefuls Buxton and on Monday they dumped Colwyn Bay out of the League Cup.

“Looking at it before those two games you might have expected Ashton to struggle a bit,” said Aspin. “But they will have gained confidence from the two wins.”

FC Halifax Town (from): Hedge, Hardy, Lowe, L Hogan, Bower, Baker, Garner, Marshall, Phelan, Gregory, Vardy, Holland, Senior, Milne, Riley, S Hogan, Metcalfe.

Town fans wishing to book on the official supporters’ bus for the game at Buxton on March 12 can do so now on 07707 14094. Transport leaves the Shay at 12 noon and will cost £10.