FC Halifax Town: “It’s all systems go” - Shaymen set to return for pre-season training
FC Halifax Town start pre-season training on Saturday as preparations begin in earnest for the 2021-22 National League campaign.
Pete Wild will have just over a month and six friendlies, one of which is still to be rubber-stamped, to fine tune his squad before the new season gets underway at home to Maidenhead on August 21.
“This week’s just been preparing to come back, we had a staff meeting on Friday to discuss everything we need to do,” Wild said.
“Everybody returns on Saturday morning for testing, which will be led by Adam (Simpson, strength and conditioning coach) and Aaron (Scholes, physio), and then we’re back in Monday dinner time, 12 o’clock, and ready to go.”
Wild says Saturday’s session will be a preliminary run through of where his players are in terms of fitness.
“The lads have a battery of testing they’ll go through in terms of their physical appearance, so heights, weights, fats, to get a balance of that,” he said.
“There’ll be some movement screening from Aaron, to see how the lads are in terms of knocks, bumps, injuries etc.
“Then there’ll be some physical testing outside in terms of jumps, running, so there’s a full battery of testing ready to go.
“I thought the lads led with that very well last year, I thought you could see that in us last year, and what we’ll try to do this year is balance the load so we don’t pick up as many injuries in pre-season.”
Wild says lessons have been learned from last season, when strikers Jake Hyde and Matty Stenson both picked up injuries during pre-season.
“We’ve looked at some of the distances we were covering later in the week in pre-season last year, and they were too high, so we need to tail them off,” he said.
“It’s a fine balance because we only have five weeks, so we’re at a disadvantage because we only five weeks to get them where they need to be. It’s a fine balance between wanting to get as much into the players tactically and technically as well as physically.
“You are going to make mistakes, we’re man enough to say that as a football side, not as the medical side, we made mistakes in how long we had them out last year, and we’ve worked closely with the medical team to ensure we don’t do that again.”
Monday is when pre-season proper will start, says the Town boss.
“It’ll be a mixture of setting down expectations and aspirations, which I’ll be doing for five or ten minutes with the players,” he said.
“Then it’ll be straight out on the grass and straight into the tactical side of how we want to play this year and how we want to do things.
“We know every day what we’re going to do football-wise, physical-wise, they’re linked into the games that we’ve organised.
“We understand exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to go about it.
“We need to ensure that the lads we still have in the building, we maybe tweak a couple of things tactically, and for the new lads, learn how we want to do things and how we do things at FC Halifax Town they learn out style of play really quickly.
“It’ll be building all around that, there’ll be lots of 11 v 11’s, because that’s how we work, and it’ll hopefully be taking them into the games where the lads can get some minutes in their legs and start to learn how to play as a team and hopefully, come August 21, we hit the ground running against Maidenhead.
“Sometimes that peak’s not the first game of the season, but as long as we’re building and progressing in the right way, and everybody stays fit and well, then we’ll be where we need to be come August 21.”
Wild says he is looking forward to pre-season starting and everything is in place.
“We’re ready now, I managed to try and have a bit of down time last week, which was good.
“It’s been a tough close season, but now it’s all systems go and I’m sat here looking at the triallists we’ve got coming in, looking at the people we’re recruiting, and making sure everybody knows where they need to be on Saturday or Monday morning,” he said.
Wild is expecting to have a group of about 28 players reporting on Monday, which will be cut down to around 22 for the first two friendlies.
“There are people coming in pre-season that we like, and we’re hopeful that they’re going to tick the boxes that we think they’re going to tick, and if they do then they’ll be recruited and added to the players,” said Wild.
“We are where we are now for close season signings, but give us a couple of weeks of pre-season and hopefully you’ll see a few more.”
The Town boss is hopeful there will be four more new signings, after the additions of Harvey Gilmour and Billy Waters were announced last week, one of which will be a back-up goakeeper following the departure of Harrison Davison-Hale.
On how many triallists will be at the club for pre-season training, Wild said: “There’ll be a few but that’s for two reasons, to make sure we give them a fair crack of the whip, and in the first two friendlies we’ll be looking to play 45 minutes, so we need enough bodies around it to ensure the players do that.
“It’s a chance for triallists to show us what they’ve got, and make sure we’ve got enough numbers that we don’t overface our players.”
Town’s first pre-season friendly is at Farsley Celtic on Tuesday, July 27 (7.45pm).