FC Halifax Town: “We need to make sure that we have the right mentality” says Wild ahead of FA Cup clash at Pontefract
Town boss Pete Wild has warned his side not to expect an easy ride in their FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie at Pontefract Collieries on Saturday.
Pontefract are three divisions lower than The Shaymen and have won just two of their first 10 league games.
But they have reached this stage of the FA Cup for the first time in their history and Saturday’s match is one of the biggest since they were founded.
Wild was at their home game on Tuesday night, when they lost 1-0 to Stocksbridge Park Steels, and says he didn’t see anything he didn’t expect.
“It’s a ground that will test us in terms of its openness,” he said.
“The pitch is decent and will hopefully allow us to play how we want to play, but it just confirmed everything I thought in terms of we must pay them the respect they deserve, they’ve got to the fourth qualifying round and I feel they’ve got some really lively front lads and if they’re at it, they could cause us some problems.”
Wild says it’s vital his side match what he expects to be a high work rate from Pontefract.
“We’ve got to compete first and foremost, make sure our out of possession framework’s as good as it can be, and then when we get our chances, we need to take them,” he said.
“We know they’re going to come out of the blocks 100 miles an hour and its important that we match their intensity first and foremost, and when we get the chance to get the ball down and play, we’re going to need to do that.
“We will be going out there ready, one for a battle, and two, to try and impose ourselves on them as quickly as possible.”
Wild is under no illusions about the significance of Saturday’s game for the hosts, and says he won’t be taking them lightly.
“It just heightens it for everybody connected with Ponte, and rightly so, fair credit to them for getting to where they’ve got, I’m really pleased for them,” he said.
“But it’s another challenge we have to stand up to, a challenge that we have to overcome.
“I can’t stress enough, we can’t have staff, players and fans go there and just think we’re going to turn them over, because that will not be the case.
“It’ll be tough, and we need to make sure that we have the right mentality, everybody going there, to drive our players forward, and get the result we want.”
And Wild says the match holds just as much weight as a league game.
“It’s as important as Weymouth last Saturday and it’ll be treated as importantly,” he said.
Defender Tom Bradbury is suspended for the game, for which Wild will be able to name seven substitutes.
If the match ends in a draw, the replay would be on Tuesday, October 19.
On midfielder Luke Summerfield, Wild said: “He’s OK, he’s still feeling the knee, we’ll have a sit down on Thursday and see where we think he’s up and we’ll take it from there.”
Striker Jack Vale was due to return from international duty with Wales under 21s yesterday, and is eligible to play on Saturday, as is fellow loanee Elliot Newby.
Vale started Wales’ 1-0 defeat in Moldova last Friday before coming off the bench in their 5-0 defeat in Holland on Tuesday.
Follow all the action from the Pontefract v Halifax game on Saturday afternoon with our live blog on the Courier website, where there will also be an on-the-whistle match report and post-match reaction from Town boss Wild.