FC Halifax Town: Play-offs are the least we should expect, says new signing Drench
New signing Steve Drench insists the play-offs should be the minimum requirement for Halifax next season.
Drench became Town’s first signing of the summer after joining from Guiseley, who are in the division above The Shaymen.
Drench has experience of the National League North, having won promotion from it with Guiseley in 2015, and reckons a top-five finish is the least Town should expect.
“The division seems to get stronger every year,” he said.
“Salford have just come up and got money behind them.
“Darlington have had a couple of promotions and they’ll be strong.
“Fylde have thrown loads of money at it and they’re full-time.
“You’ve got Kidderminster who’ve just come down from the Conference and Telford should have a good season as well.
“Halifax will be one of the big teams in there but I think the expectation has to be at least a play-off place.”
Drench was contacted by outgoing Town boss Jim Harvey and incoming manager Billy Heath towards the end of the season, and is looking forward to playing under the new Halifax chief.
Drench said: “I spoke to Billy Heath a couple of times about a month before the season finished and then spoke to the chairman (David Bosomworth).
“I get on well with Jim Harvey as well and he rang me two or three months before the end of the season to see what my plans were.
“When Billy rang he couldn’t tell me which club he would be at and he was keeping his cards close to his chest.
“But I’ve played against him at North Ferriby and, although people say he’s a long ball man, they were physical, competitive and you can’t argue with their results.
“They won the FA Trophy and got promoted so he’s got a great track record.”
Drench will combine his playing duties with studying for a degree in physical education at Manchester Metropolitan University, with a view to becoming a PE teacher.
The 30-year-old has happy memories from Guiseley, but believes he has joined a bigger club in Halifax.
“I’ve been at Guiseley for six years and to get to the National League was a massive achievement.
“I’m very proud to have been a part of that.
“But the fans and the ground at Halifax are superb - the set-up is like a proper league club.
“Whenever I’ve played there as an opponent I’ve enjoyed it.
“The first time was when I was 19 for Morecambe and it was on Sky Sports.
“It was the most boring game you will ever see but then I made a couple of saves in the last 10 minutes and got man-of-the-match.”
Ironically Drench played a role in Town’s relegation on the final day of last season by helping Guiseley to a 4-3 win over Torquay.
He added: “We blew Torquay away in the first half and were 3-0 up at the break.
“A loud cheer went up at 2-0 and the ref told me he thought Halifax were getting beaten.
“The dressing room was bouncing at half-time but one of the lads said Halifax were actually winning, so our heads went down a little, then Torquay got a couple of quick goals.
“We were hanging on at the end at 4-3 and I made a couple of saves.
“Then we were standing on the pitch waiting around wondering what was happening until someone in the press box said Halifax had drawn and everyone started cheering.
“I’ve had a bit of stick off Twitter from some Halifax fans saying if I’d let another goal in then I could still be playing in the Conference.
“But it’s a new challenge for me and I’m really excited by it.”