FC Halifax Town: “We need to play with a better tempo” says Wild ahead of Southend visit
Town manager Pete Wild wants his side to up the tempo when they host Southend at The Shay on Saturday.
Halifax slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Yeovil last weekend, producing a timid display in a poor game to leave them with six points from their first four matches of the season.
“We’re really looking forward to it, we’ve reviewed things we need to be better at from the Yeovil game, we’ve reviewed how we played and how we went about it, and this week, we’re out trying to put it right,” Wild said.
“We’re excited about the Southend game, I think it’s our toughest test so far and we’re going to need to be more than ready for what’s coming, because I think it’ll be a real tough test on Saturday.”
When asked what his side needs to do better from the defeat at Yeovil, Wild said: “We need to play with a better tempo, with and without the ball.
“Our tempo wasn’t good enough in the shape that we played and we need to express ourselves better.
“I don’t think we expressed ourselves enough, for long enough, in what was a dull and drab game.”
Wild gave little away when asked whether he was tempted to make changes after the Yeovil match.
“We’ll see, I’ll see how they train this week, I’ll see what personnel and system suits the best way of beating Southend, and we’ll take it from there,” said the Town boss.
“I’ve got a lot of personal learnings from last Saturday, on and off the field, and I need to make sure I get it right on Saturday.”
Southend, who are managed by former Halifax captain Phil Brown, were relegated from League Two last season and have won just one of their first four games.
“We’re watching them, but we’ve had friends at other clubs who’ve played against them and told us they’re strong, physical, direct, quick forwards, Dalby and Murphy are a handful,” Wild said.
“I expect them to be no different when they’re coming here on Saturday.
“They’ve had a great result against Wrexham, I’m sure they’ll have wanted more having been 2-0 up.
“But we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves. What we’re trying to do this year is concentrate on ourselves more, and I’ve got to learn from some of the mistakes I made last Saturday.”
Southend’s visit marks the start of a tough-looking eight days for Town, who then travel to Boreham Wood on Tuesday and host Stockport next Saturday.
“Three great games, this is what this league’s about now,” Wild said.
“Southend at home, then you go to Boreham Wood, who are flying, on Tuesday night, then Stockport at home.
“What a great week for everybody, the players, the fans, the staff. What a great week, these are the weeks you get involved in footy for.”
Wild looks set to still be without wing-backs Dom Tear and Jack Senior for Saturday’s game.
“We’ve got a couple of knocks and bumps out of Saturday but nothing that will keep anybody out for this Saturday,” he said.
“Dom (Tear) is back out running and hopefully will be cleared by the end of the week to be training next week.
“Jack Senior’s still really sore on his shoulder, he’s still icing that so he’s still got a good couple of weeks.
“One good bit of news is that Matt Stenson is running at full pace now, which is great to see, we’re really pleased he’s really cracking on in his rehab and getting to where he needs to be.”
Wild says he hopes Stenson could be available for selection by the end of November.
“As you can appreciate with injuries like this, it’s important they’re right before he comes back in,” he said.
“For us and for him, we don’t want nay recurrence of his injury.”
Midfielder Luke Summerfield is expected to feature on Saturday, despite carrying a knock.
“Summers has been struggling with a swollen knee,” Wild said. “We’ve been managing it and it’s still sore, but that’s the nature of the man, that he just gets on with it.
“We’re hoping that will settle down over the next couple of weeks.
“The distance he covers and the sprints he makes are no less than he would in a game.
“Because he sets such high standards of himself, when he’s perceived to be half-a-yard off, it’s no fault of his effort or endeavour.
“All players have those days.”
Striker Gerry McDonagh has made just one substitute appearance since joining Town, but Wild says the club will be patient with him.
“Like we said when we brought him in, Gerry’s a project,” Wild said.
“We played an in-house game this week and he did really well.
“It’ll probably take six to eight weeks to get him to exactly where we want him to be.
“He had a spike and did really well but then we just felt that he dropped a little bit, so we needed to get him back up to where he needs to be.
“That’s what we’ll continue to do, but if we can, we’ve got some player on our hands.”
Wild was sent-off near the end of the Yeovil game, and is anticipating a touchline ban as a result.
“I’m expecting one,” he said, “and deservedly so, but nothing’s come though yet.
“But I’ll deal with that accordingly.”
Follow all the action from the game on Saturday afternoon on the Courier’s live blog at www.halifaxcourier.co.uk where there will also be an on-the-whistle match report and post-match reaction from Wild.