FC Halifax Town: Walker excited by prospect of promotion clash

Former Town midfielder Sam Walker believes there is a lot at stake when his Salford side visits The Shay on Saturday.

Friday, 20th January 2017, 2:02 pm
Football - FA Cup - FC Halifax Town v Guiseley. Sam Walker

Just three points separate the two promotion-chasers, who drew 2-2 at Salford earlier this season.

Walker scored five goals in 25 appearances for Halifax last season, and is looking forward to his first game back at the club he left last summer.

“I’ve scored three and I’m top of the assists chart at the club so I’m really enjoying it at Salford,” he said.

“It’s gone in the blink of an eye so far which is a good sign.

“I just hope we can keep building momentum now and come the end of the season, we can be in a position where we can be in contention for promotion.

“But there are seven or eight other teams looking at that too - it’s so tight.

“Two wins for Halifax have thrust them right onto our tails.

“No-one has really been able to pull away other than Fylde.

“Everybody is beating everybody else. It was a great result for Halifax against Chorley last week.

“There’s a lot at stake on Saturday because if we win, we can squeeze up to third or at least on their tails.

“But if Halifax win and results go their way, they’ll be on the doorstep of fifth.

“Halifax want to get back to where they’ve been before and Salford want to tread new ground, so both are desperate to get promoted.

“It should be a tasty game.”

Salford are unbeaten in the league since October 22 and have only lost four league games all season.

“The majority of the season has been really good,” said Walker. “We made a great start.

“A couple of months into it we had a bit of a wobble but in the last eight or nine games we’ve got some momentum back and everything’s looking good.

“We’re obviously doing something right.

“We’ve got a good bunch of lads who are hard working and there’s a good team spirit.

“We’re digging in at the right times and we’re hard to beat.

“When the managers recruited in the summer the players they signed had the right personality as well as the ability.

“Offensively we’re quick and tidy on the ball but defensively we’re dogged and resolute.

“That’s all starting to pay off now and we’re growing as a group.”

Salford, who are part-owned owned by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville, will be the subject of a third series of the BBC One TV show Class of 92: Out Of Their League, which is currently being filmed.

“They’ve been filming since last October,” Walker said.

“From a personal point of view I was certainly conscious they were there to start with.

“I asked some of the lads who were there last year about it and they said ‘you are conscious about the cameras being there’.

“But after a couple of times it just fades into the background.

“The most important thing is winning games and now it doesn’t even go into my thought process.

“With the run we’ve been on it’s hard not to be thinking about anything other than the matches.”

Walker believes joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley are different from the caricatured version that appears on screen.

“I don’t think it’s a fair reflection on the managers because all you see is them raising their voices and shouting when a message needs to be put across,” he said.

“But what it doesn’t show is how tactically aware they are, and they way they can approach each individual player.

“They’ll give a player an arm round the shoulder if need be, or a kick up the backside.

“There is a bit of a siege mentality in the dressing room at times, which the managers have developed.

“You don’t really see the relationship they have with the players - people just think they ball and shout all the time, but there’s much more to them than that.

“So in that respect it does do them an injustice.”

Walker says the club’s owners are hands-off in their approach, adding: “We’re very much left to our own thing without interference from them.

“They will be at games but when it comes to training the managers are very much in charge.

“I’ve met three of them but only really in passing - just a quick hello and a handshake.

“It’s nice to know they take an interest but they are just happy to let us get on with it - and it seems to be working.”