FC Halifax Town: “I’ve enjoyed every minute” - King full of confidence and raring to go again

The 2019-20 season was a campaign of rehabilitation and renewal for Jeff King.
FC Halifax Town v Dover at The MBI Shay Stadium. Jeff King.FC Halifax Town v Dover at The MBI Shay Stadium. Jeff King.
FC Halifax Town v Dover at The MBI Shay Stadium. Jeff King.

The 24-year-old joined Halifax last August seeking a footballing home, having endured a year out of first-team action following an ill-fated move to St Mirren.

But 12 months on, he has a new contract at The Shay having made 35 appearances last season, including 22 starts.

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“I enjoyed last season a lot,” he said. “The year before the one just gone, I had a terrible season so I just needed to get back playing, get in a good group of lads and get smiling again.

“I got more than that this season, I got a lot of game-time.

“The only disappointing thing was I didn’t score any goals, which I’ve always judged myself on.

“But in terms of game-time and getting back smiling again, in my comfort zone, I’ve loved the last nine months.

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“I’ve enjoyed every minute, I felt welcome from the minute I walked through the door.

“I know the gaffer and Milly (Chris Millington) really appreciate me for what I do, and I feel like I can bring something to the team.

“I expect to get a lot of game-time again this year, which has been massive for me, and I’m hoping we’ll go for the play-offs again.”

After an understandably rusty start having spent months out of the game, King feels he got better as the season went on.
“That just comes down to getting back to playing games and confidence,” he said.

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“That’s what I don’t think people realise with football, it is a massive confidence game, and if you haven’t played a lot of minutes then it takes a bit of time to get your confidence back up and get playing again.

“I feel like from the first game to the last game I started, you could see the difference in me.”

And there is no doubt that Town boss Pete Wild and assistant Chris Millington have played a big part in King’s recuperation.

“I’ve loved working with them because they’re very down-to-earth,” he said.

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“Obviously there’s certain boundaries but they’re like the lads, you can have a good craic, but there’s limits that you can’t pass.

“That’s what I like, there’s no big ego, they don’t think they’re better than anyone else.

“They’ve made me get my confidence back. I know I keep mentioning confidence but it’s massive for myself.

“They’ve put me in positions I would never have been put in by other managers.

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“I don’t know whether it will but it might reward me in the long run, being able to play in different positions.

“They’ve definitely opened my eyes to my strengths and weaknesses. Twelve to 18 months ago, I would probably have never known I could have played right wing-back and defend one v one against certain players.

“I’ve noticed I’m more than capable of doing it, so yeah, they’ve definitely developed me in certain areas.

“I think at first it was more of a trial and error thing (playing at right wing-back), with Ducky (Michael Duckworth) getting injured.

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“Maybe they didn’t realise how well I could do the job there and then they started to believe in me and I sort believed in myself.

“I’ve got no problem with playing right wing-back, left wing-back, attacking midfield, right mid, left mid, whatever it may be. I’m more than happy to play anywhere.

“I like to play wide left or in the 10 role, but if someone was to say ‘can I have some clips of your recent play’ I’d say ‘yeah, I played right wing-back, that’s been my main position in the last nine to 12 months’.”

When asked if Town fans have seen the best of him yet, King said: “No, I don’t. I always speak to my dad after most games when he’s there, and he’s probably not used to seeing me at right wing-back.

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“I’m adapting to it, but I feel like I can bring more, there’s still stuff there I feel like I’ve got.

“Even though I’m doing OK, I’m not quite reaching that level yet.”

And King is specifically targeting goals next term after failing to find the net last season.

“I’ve been happy last season with my assists and chances created and being involved in attacking play,” he said.

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“I think I was top for assists in the team, which is massive. Irrelevant of performance, I’ve judged myself the majority of the time on goals and assists.

“I’ve got the assists but I couldn’t even say I’ve scored enough goals, I haven’t even scored a goal.

“That comes down to confidence in-front of goal, you get one or two and they start falling for you in nice positions.

“So goals is massive for me.”

Another of King’s ambitions for next season is to be more disciplined, having been booked 13 times in the league during the previous campaign.

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“It’s been terrible, yeah. I’ve spoken to the gaffer about it, I don’t know why it happened, why I got so many bookings.

“I’ll always get bookings, it’s the player I am, I play full pelt, I love flying into tackles, but some of the silly bookings for arguing and pushing and moaning, they need to go out of the window,”