FC Halifax Town: “There’s been a lot of work behind-the-scenes and now it’s showtime” says Wild on eve of new season

Pete Wild. Photo: Marcus BranstonPete Wild. Photo: Marcus Branston
Pete Wild. Photo: Marcus Branston
FC Halifax Town get their 2020-21 season underway on Saturday at home to Dagenham and Redbridge - and boss Pete Wild says his injury concerns will be no excuse.

Wild says he is down to around 16 first-team players due to injuries, and admits it is hardly ideal preparation for the start of the season.

The Town boss was hopeful of bolstering his squad with two or three new signings before the end of the week, but says his squad was strong enough to cope with the injury problems.

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“The lads are where we want them to be,” Wild said of his squad.

“Don’t think I’m making excuses for Saturday already. Come Saturday three o’clock we’ll be ready to go.

“I’m really looking forward to it. There’s been a lot of work behind-the-scenes and now it’s showtime.

“We’ve got to go out and give the best account of ourselves and make sure, come the end of the month, we’ve picked some points up and we’re on the right road.”

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Wild said striker Matty Stenson is on track with his recovery from a hamstring problem, and should be back in contention in a month.

Wild is hopeful that none of the injuries are long-term problems.

“You could be talking anything from two days to two weeks,” he said.

“I just need to make sure they don’t come back too early and we have more injuries because it’s a long season.”

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When asked if any of his potential new signings could be forced to go straight into the starting line-up against Dagenham, Wild said: “It depends who we bring in and on the severity of the knocks the lads have got.”

Wild says it looks unlikely he will be able to pick the starting 11 he had in mind for Saturday.

“I came away from the Boston game thinking ‘we’ve got a way of playing’ but I’ve spent the last two games thinking ‘there’s elements that are good but we can’t put it all together because I haven’t got the personnel on the pitch to make it look exactly how I want’.

“But that’s part of football, teams get injuries across the season and it looks like we’re having ours early doors,” he said.

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“But we’re more than capable of coping with it and of pushing forward. We just need to make sure we do the right things by the players that are injured and that we have the right cover so the team’s not light come Saturday.”

Wild says injuries have hampered Town’s last two friendlies, a 0-0 draw at Mossley on Saturday and a 4-1 defeat against Fleetwood under 23s on Tuesday.

“The last two games have been a bit tough for us because we’ve had a bit of a mini injury crisis in terms of players not being available last Saturday and Tuesday,” he said.

“That’s really hampered the two games, which was really frustrating.”So I had to put people out of position and bring some lads in that might not otherwise have played from the youth team, or trialists. It was a real mismatch which really frustrated me.

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“But we have had players getting minutes under their belt, which it’s all about, and we’ve had players getting themselves up to speed, so that’s been a positive.

“But the negative is that we seem to be picking up minor injuries that have really hampered putting my strongest team out.”

On Saturday’s opponents Dagenham, Wild said: “Daryl (McMahon) is an excellent manager and prepares his team excellently.

“I’ve been watching them this week. They will come and play football, they’ve got some really good players, they’ve recruited really well.

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“The likes of McCallum will certainly cause us problems. They’ll have a lot about them going forward so it’s a really good test for us and a really good start to give us a gauge of where we are before two tough tests on the road.”

When asked what his message was to his players ahead of the new season, Wild said: “Can we reach our full potential, as players and as a club? Can we go and make the town proud of us again this year?

“Make sure we leave everything out there and we go the extra mile in everything we do.”

And on what would count as a successful season, Wild said: “It’s progression for the football club, we continue to fight at the right end of the table throughout the season and ultimately, can we emulate or better what we did last year?”

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Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed on Wednesday that the government have given assurances to the National League for financial support in order for the season to start this weekend.

“I’ve always been confident the season would get going,” said Wild.

“We’ve just had our heads down, control what we can control and we feel we’ve had a really good pre-season, apart from not being able to get our strongest 11 out to road test the system.”

But games will be played behind-closed-doors, with no supporters allowed in the stands.

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““It’s an entertainment industry and we’re there to entertain the fans, and without the fans football’s a bit fake in my eyes,” Wild added.

“Players have to find an inner drive to make up for the fans not being there.

“I’m really disappointed they won’t be there but unfortunately I’m not the Health Secretary and there’s nothing I can do.

“It is what it is and hopefully the club are putting things in place to make sure the fans don’t miss out on what hopefully will be a top season.”

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