FC Halifax Town: “I genuinely believe there’s more to come” says assistant boss Millington

In the first of a special two-part interview, FC Halifax Town’s assistant manager Chris Millington talks to Tom Scargill about The Shaymen’s first-half of the season and looks ahead to the rest of the campaign.
Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus BranstonChris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston

Assistant manager Chris Millington says there is more to come from Town in the second-half of the season.

The Shaymen are 14th in the National League after 22 games, six points off the play-offs but with at least one game-in-hand over some of the teams above them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Town’s mixed season so far was encapsulated in their last two results, as they recovered from a disappointing 2-1 defeat at bottom club Barnet by winning 3-2 at leaders Torquay.

Millington feels Town’s league position is a fair reflection of how they’ve done so far.

“We’ve not done enough to be higher than that and I think it would be unfair, when you go through the performances, if we were lower than that,” he said.

“I definitely believe we’ve got more potential than finishing in that area of the table, I think if we fulfill our potential this season we can be up and around the play-offs spots, I genuinely believe that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“And I think, given a little bit more continuity in terms of player availability and fixtures taking place and getting a run of games under our belt, then we’ll really start to show what we can do.

“So it is a fair reflection of the first half of the season but I genuinely believe there’s more to come.”

Millington feels Town need to tighten up at the back, with The Shaymen keeping just one clean sheet in their last 20 games.

“At the beginning of the season we set out with three key objectives,” said the 45-year-old assistant boss.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Two out of those three I’d say we’ve achieved in 90 per cent of the games.

“There’s one area that we need to become more consistent over for us to really sustain a good challenge for the play-off places, that’s around our defensive structure and being hard to beat.

“But two out of three of our objectives we’ve shown that we can consistently hit and now I believe if we take those into the second half of the season and we start to build more consistency, like the performances at Torquay, Bromley and Wrexham, where we gave some really strong defensive performances, if that can become part of our identity that’s present in every game, then I think we can really threaten the play-off places and have a really strong finish to the season.

“I genuinely believe we’re good enough to be right up there, I’ve not seen a team in the league that’s better than us yet.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think there’s teams that are as good in different ways, I think there’s teams that are as good in possession in different ways, I think there are teams that are as good defensively in different ways.

“But I think when we play to our full potential we’re as good, if not better, than the vast majority of teams in the division, and it’s credit to the players, the amount of work they’ve put in, it’s a credit to the gaffer and the strategy around recruitment, and the staff in the way they work towards helping prepare the players from an analysis point of view right through to the lads who do the strength and conditioning.

“I think it’s a real team effort and at the moment we’re getting close to maximising our full potential, and when we start to do that more consistently, it’ll turn into positive results and I would think a really favourable position in the table.”

Injuries have proved disruptive for Town this season, with captain Nathan Clarke and influential midfielder Luke Summerfield both having lengthy time on the sidelines, and intended first choice front two Jake Hyde and Matty Stenson both being injured twice, and in Stenson’s case, putting him out for the season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The challenge for us has been the players who’ve been out have been important players for us at important times,” Millington said.

“So when you’re going into the busy Christmas period, that’s when you want to get your really experienced boys up and firing, and at that stage we’re looking at players having to come in and do jobs they were not necessarily brought in to do.

“So that makes it really challenging.

“We had high hopes for Jake Hyde and Matty Stenson as a strike partnership, we felt they could do a lot, but we felt the three of them, with Jamie Allen, could really lead the line well for us.

“Jamie’s obviously got the ability to play two or three positions equally as effectively and he’s done a brilliant job when he’s been available, leading the line, which isn’t necessarily something that he’s got a lot of experience of, but he’s been fantastic this year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The challenges have been keeping that continuity of a regular starting eleven, the continuity of players playing in the positions they were brought in to play, and in more recent weeks, just having continuity of fixtures, which has been up and down with cancellations because of pitches being frozen and players from other teams, predominantly, having cases of Covid.

“So it’s been pretty challenging on a number of fronts.”

But Millington believes Town are capable of out-performing any team in the National League on their day.

“We can show more consistency in some areas, which will lead to better results,” he said.

“I don’t think there’s a better team in the division than us when we’re at it, when we really pull it all together.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“What we’ve got to do now is do that more consistently, and if we do we’ve got an awful lot of games left to climb the division.

“For me it’s about performances, but if we perform to our maximum on a more consistent basis then I’d be surprised if we don’t finish in and around the play-offs.

“But we’ve got to earn that. We can’t just think ‘we’re a good team with good players and we’re an innovative group of people who want to do things better’, we’ve got to actually prove it week-in, week-out. That’s what our focus will be on in the second-half of the season.”