FC Halifax Town v Solihull Moors: Opposition focus

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Solihull strikers Paul McCallum and Nathan Blissett have already struck-up a potent partnership this season, according to Ben Tyler from the Solihull Observer.

Both forwards have four goals each so far, but will not be the only threat for Halifax to watch out for on Saturday, with midfielder Jamey Osborne identified as a key man, if he is fit.

“Osborne is very much the root of Moors’ attacking play, everything positive they do heading into the final third of the pitch is through him,” said Tyler.

“It’s hard to ignore the goal threat of the two striker system used by Moors, with McCallum and Blissett already striking up a fierce partnership early in the season.

“McCallum has had a dream start to life in a blue and yellow shirt, netting four times since his summer move, form which has lifted the likes of strike partner Blissett - who also sits on the same number.

“Matty Stenson was a man in form during pre-season, and has been more of a regular feature this campaign in the forward line, with the trio all managing to limit the minutes afforded to a striker of Danny Wright’s quality.

“Solihull mainly focused on their counter-attacking and aerial threat last campaign, and their approach is very much the same this term.

“The likes of Osborne are afforded creative freedom once in the final third, which brings an element of surprise to their play.

“But even when teams are able to keep a lid on Osborne’s influence from midfield, set pieces are always a key source of goals for Flowers’ side, with the towering Liam Daly often getting on the end of deliveries from Darren Carter or Osborne.”

Tyler said Solihull won’t be reading too much into losing their last two matches.

“Moors had a perfect start to the season up until the Bank Holiday weekend, when the club suffered their first blip with back-to-back defeats.

“Before then, Solihull were giving fans every reason to be optimistic for the season ahead, showing real promotion contender form and with it, a then unbeaten record.

“Moors had an unbeaten pre-season to match and continued to build momentum throughout the course of the early set of fixtures.

“With results like the 6-1 victory away at Chorley, and being able to grind out results when not playing to their full capability over the likes of Ebbsfleet United (2-1 win at home), Tim Flowers’ men have clearly grown into their new status as promotion contenders, building on their fantastic 2018/19 campaign.

“But despite slipping to two defeats in a row, no one connected with the Moors will be panicking, for the club have shown plenty of promise so far this season to suggest they will be up there.

“While promotion was a hope, and not an expectation last season, the aim from the club - from Tim Flowers, to the players and the chairman Darryl Eales - this campaign is firmly on gaining promotion into the Football League.

“Bringing in the league’s top scorer McCallum, and a player in Mitch Hancox, who not only has experience of playing in the Football League, but also in gaining promotion from the top tier of non-league football (with Macclesfield Town), was a real statement of intent from the club.

“The squad is certainly there to match, if not better, last season’s achievements, so it will be a very interesting season ahead.”

But Tyler does see some areas where The Shaymen could get some joy on Saturday.

“With Moors using wing-backs this season, there is a chance to catch the wide men out of position and find space in behind,” he said.

“Winning second balls will also be crucial to Halifax’s chances, particularly when one of the back three is dragged out of shape.”

Tyler said Osborne and Wright were both substituted in the first half in Saturday’s defeat at Woking after picking up injuries, with the pair not featuring two days later against Eastleigh, so will be doubts for Saturday’s game.

“Moors are likely to retain their 3-5-2 system that has been a regular feature so far this term, but also have the ability to mix it up and revert to 4-3-3 which served them so well last season,” he said.

“I expect them to continue with three at the back on Saturday, and have accounted for the two injury doubts, with no update provided as of yet in regards to their availability this weekend.”

Expected line-up: (3-5-2) Ryan Boot, Liam Daly, Callum Howe, Alex Gudger, Lee Vaughan, Darren Carter, Kyle Storer, Terry Hawkridge, Jamie Reckord, Paul McCallum, Nathan Blissett.