FC Halifax Town: “We’re confident that we’re talking to the right people” says Wild on replacements for Byrne and Hyde

Town manager Pete Wild says the club are confident they have identified the right replacements for defender Neill Byrne and striker Jake Hyde.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 3:09 pm
Football - FC Halifax Town v Chesterfield FC. Halifax manager Pete Wild.

The duo were the latest to head out of the Shay exit door this summer, with Byrne joining League Two Hartlepool and Hyde signing for fellow National League club Wrexham, both for undisclosed fees.

The Town boss issued a statement to fans on Sunday night attempting to assuage their unhappiness at the loss of two key players, insisting the pair wanted to leave the club, that the fees received for them would be reinvested in the squad and that work was underway at replacing them.

Wild, who celebrates his 37th birthday today, said: “I thought it was key that we put the statement out on Sunday night, because everyone gets sceptical and apprehensive, and I appreciate that, I get that, I’ve been a football fan, I understand where they’re coming from.

“But in Neill’s case, Neill’s representative came to us and asked would there be any mileage in Hartlepool making an offer, and I said we didn’t want to lose him but if he wanted to move on into the league, that’s what it would take to do it, and fair play to them, they came up with the money, and it was really good business, it was good money, Neill had expressed that he wanted to leave.

“Like I said in my statement, as soon as players express a desire to leave then we have to work with them to try and move them on, because we don’t want people who have an eye on elsewhere, they’ve all got to be focused on being here.

“Obviously there’s been rumours across the summer about Jake. There were a couple of clubs interested, Wrexham came in with an offer, again Jake had made it clear to us that he wanted to move on, for various reasons, and again, it’s a really good bit of business for a 31-year-old who we didn’t get as many games as we thought we would last year, so the business was good.”

Wild insists the club wouldn’t have agreed to either deal if they weren’t happy with the fees involved.

“We should be really happy as a football club for what we received for them,” he said. “We wouldn’t have sold them unless the money was right, I’m under no pressure to sell anybody, I’m under no pressure to generate income for the football club.

“But the two factors are they express a desire to move on, and their valuations were met very comfortably, in our eyes, so it’s really good business for the club, especially in these times, it will certainly help me reinvest in bringing other players to the football club.”

Town began pre-season training on Saturday, the day after Byrne’s deal was announced and the day before Hyde’s transfer was sealed, but Wild is philosophical about the timing of the disruption.

“Nothing in football’s ever ideal, there’s always something that comes out of the blue, like you plan all week for a Saturday and then something comes out of the blue and it’s a bump in the road,” he said.

“What we have to be, especially at out football club, is planned and prepared, and I feel like we are very planned and prepared for every eventuality and now is no different.

“It’s not ideal but what in life is ideal?”

But Wild is happy with the progress on their replacements.

“I’m not going to hide the fact that it’s not just come out of the blue, don’t get me wrong, when there’s a desire (to leave) and there’s toing and froing going on,” he said.

“One thing I’d like to think about us as staff is we’re very pro-active, we always know the targets we’re going to go after to replace players, and now is no different.

“We’ve already had really good conversations with the people who we want to bring in and now they’re making their decisions whether they’re for us.

“We haven’t just spoken to one, we’ve spoken to two or three in both those positions, so it’ll be a case of, if they all come back with a yes, we have to pick the best person for the job, but we’ll be happy with any of them three in both positions, should they agree to come.”

Aside from the replacements for Byrne and Hyde, there is expected to be another four new faces still to arrive at the club, all of whom are training with the rest of the squad at the moment.

“Those traillists are in the building, they have started really well, but we’ll see how they do in the games next week, and as I always stated from the outset, after the two we brought in, that would be us until probably the end of week two of pre-season,” said Wild.

“Then the fans can probably expect, providing they do well, some more through the door, and that is still the case.

“So there’s no knee jerk reaction, there’s no panic, we know exactly the plan, the plan is still on track. Yes, there’s a bump in the road with those two leaving, but we’ve dealt with that and credit to the chairman for saying I was allowed to reinvest that money back into the squad, which he’s always said to me from day one, any money we generate will be reinvested, so I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Wild is calling for patience from Town supporters disgruntled at Byrne and Hyde’s departures, and says replacing them will take time.

“We’re confident that we’re talking to the right people, and if we can get a couple of them to take a nibble, which we think we will, then we’ll be great,” he said.

“All I’d ask for is patience until we get the right people in. You can easily just go out and bring a body in next week but they’ve got to be right, they’ve got to fit what we’re trying to do and these negotiations take time because the player has to go away and decide if Halifax is the right fit for them.

“So these things take a bit of time, it’s not like going to the toy shop because your toy’s broken, and you just go and pick the next one up tomorrow morning, it doesn’t work like that.

“So people just need to be patient, trust in what we’ve done, like I said before, I think we’ve earned people’s trust to make the right decisions, and I don’t see now as any different.”

Wild says striker Matty Stenson is making good progress in his rehabilitation from long-term injury.

“He’s back out running and he’s back up to three-quarter pace in his running, so we’re really pleased for him,” he said.

“He’s been working with Aaron (Scholes, physio) all summer and he’s been back around the group the last two days, very vibrant, desperate to get himself back to where he needs to be.

“He’ll continue that process over the next couple of months and hopefully, nearer Christmas, he’ll be back out there showing everybody why we invested money bringing him to the club.”

Town are back training at their base in Leeds, and Wild was happy at the condition his players came back in.

“It’s been great, the lads have come back great, gone are the days of pre-seasons where it’s to try and get fit, players come back in sharp, strong and in shape these days,” he said.

“They look like a good group of athletes, their physiques are very good.”

The Shaymen kick-off their pre-season campaign at Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night.

“Looking forward to getting back to games,” said Wild, “looking forward to getting some of the ideas we’ve been putting on the training ground into practice, looking forward to lads getting minutes in their legs, and looking forward to having the fans back around us, talking, sharing any questions they might have, I’m happy to talk and air any problems.”