FC Halifax Town: "We want to make Sunday one of those special days out for the fans," says Wild ahead of FA Cup tie at Kidderminster

Town boss Pete Wild says he wants to make Sunday's FA Cup second round tie at Kidderminster a special day for the club's travelling supporters.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 4:29 pm
Pete Wild. Photo: Marcus Branston

Halifax will reach the third round of the competition for the first time in 33 years if they beat National League North side Kidderminster on Sunday (4pm), as well as pocketing £34,000 in prize money.

When asked if it was the biggest game of the season so far for The Shaymen, Wild said: "Financially it certainly is, and the prize at the end of it makes it the biggest game of the season, but they're all big games.

"It's a game that everybody should be looking forward to - players, staff, fans, the club - we should all be looking forward to the game and an exciting contest with two teams who want to play football.

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"It makes for such an exciting game on Sunday and I'm certainly really looking forward to the game."

Wild said his players were excited too about Sunday's clash.

"The players want to put themselves in the public domain and, at times, that doesn't happen in our league," he said.

"They want to pit themselves against the best players and for their careers, they want to put themselves in a good light because you never know where a cup tie like that can take them.

"Once you get to the second or third round if you're a lower team, everybody's looking at it thinking 'why are they in this round?'.

"So yeah, they're all buzzing, but they should be buzzing after the result they had over the weekend."

Kidderminster are fourth in the National League North and are the highest scorers in the division.

They have won their last six matches in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last nine games.

"They've just won five on the bounce so it's not as if we're coming up against a middle of the road National League North side, we're coming up against one of the best teams in the National League North," said Wild.

"The manager deserves a lot of credit for what he's done there. We can't underestimate any game but certainly not this one because we're away from home against a team that's flying in the league below and all the things that come with that.

"We cannot underestimate these or anyone else we've come up against this season, but one of the things about this group is that they're very professional, they're very switched on, they're very ready for everything that's throw in-front of them and I'm sure, knowing the group like I do, they will not underestimate them on Sunday.

"They're a full-time team, set up very well and you can see why they're doing so well, I've been watching them this week and I can tell why they're doing well."

The Shaymen will go into Sunday's game as favourites.

"We spend most of the year as underdogs so it's a different type of pressure for us, but it's good that we have to deal with that pressure and expectation," Wild said.

"We've got to live up to it now. We've had such a good start to the season and we're all keen to make sure that continues."

If Town progress, they will go into Monday night's draw alongside teams from the Premier League and the Championship and be in with a chance of landing a potentially lucrative pay-day.

"You can't talk about the next round because we've got a football tie to play on Sunday 11 versus 11," said Wild.

"So there's no talk of what-ifs because they get you nowhere, it's all about focusing on Sunday, making sure we give the best account of ourselves.

"And if we are lucky enough to get through then you can spend all Sunday night and Monday talking about who we'd get.

"But until Sunday's out of the way then you can't really talk about the third round because we're not in it."

Wild wants his side to keep up their impressive recent performance levels, which have seen them win back-to-back away games and four of their last six matches.

"Because they're a footballing side I think it really suits us," Wild said of the game.

"We quite enjoy teams who want to play football against us because we can go toe-to-toe with each other.

"The team who tactically gets it right on Sunday, who plays to the best of their abilities will win the football match.

"We must be us and we must play like us to get the result that we want.

"If we're half-a-yard off it, if we come away from what we're good at, then we'll come unstuck.

"So the message is we've got to continue to do what's got us where we are over the first 20 games of the season."

Wild added: "We're in the middle of five weekends in a row away from home, the first two we've passed the test and we have to go there now and pass the test again.

"We have to go and acquit ourselves in the right way.

"One thing this group are is mature and switched-on and there's no arrogance in this building, that's for sure."

The Town boss says the Halifax fans, who are expected to travel in good numbers to Kidderminster, can make a big difference to the result.

"I believe 500-600 are going down and they've got a massive role to play," Wild said.

"I believe there were more than 76 at Torquay as well.

"The one thing the fans have done this season is get behind us, even in the tight moments, of which there'll be loads of on Sunday.

"I can't stress enough how unbelievable the fans have been this year and how much they can help us on Sunday and drive us forward.

"That was one of the chairman's big reasons for subsidising the coach travel, because he wants as many fans there as possible, driving the team forward, and hopefully getting us over the line.

"We want to make Sunday one of those special days out for the fans and the players, and we'll be doing everything to try and make that happen for them."

Wild says defender Tom Bradbury is in contention for a return to action having recovered from his ankle injury.

"Bradders is back in full training, looks sharp and ready to go," Wild said.

"Jay Benn's back in full training, we've just had him scanned to make sure the hamstring has healed properly, but we're hopeful it has and he'll be back in contention for the weekend.

"Jamie Allen is still 50-50, his ankle doesn't seem to be settling down unfortunately, but hopefully he'll be back around it for the weekend."

Jamie Cooke has been recalled from his loan at Matlock, and Wild says he will decide over the next couple of weeks on his immediate future.