Aspin’s rallying call ahead of big kick-off

Neil Aspin
Neil Aspin

Town boss Neil Aspin is demanding hard-work and pride in the shirt from his side this season - starting at newly-promoted Boreham Wood on Saturday.

The Shaymen are expected to field a side close to the one that started the 2-0 win over York last Saturday.

Kevin Roberts is Town’s only injury doubt heading into the game with a calf injury, and isn’t expected to start having only featured intermittently during pre-season.

Aspin is reserving judgement on what his side can achieve this season, but is calling for the basics of effort and application from his players.

“I don’t set a target because you don’t know what the strength of the league is going to be like,” he said.

“You can’t predict. All I would say is that I want a team that works hard, competes, tries to go forward, give the supporters a lot of endeavour and they show pride in wearing a Halifax shirt.

“If I get that, that’s all I can ask.

“You’ve got the same difficulties we have every season in that we’re still part-time in a largely full-time league and that will always count against us.

“But I don’t make excuses and we’ll give it our best shot.”

Aspin wants to see his side improve on the ball this season, and feels the presence of defenders such as Matty Brown and Hamza Bencherif will help.

“We need to keep the ball better,” he said.

“In the team that started against York, the two centre-backs are more comfortable on the ball, especially Hamza - he’s a good footballer.

“In the middle of the park, that’s the area where I felt we let ourselves down at times by giving the ball away, so we need to be better in possession.”

Aspin was encouraged by Halifax’s 2-0 win over York last Saturday but is stressing a patient approach with so many new faces in the squad.

“There were some pleasing things on Saturday but we’ve got keep working hard,” he said.

“We’ve only put together a new squad over the last few weeks and it takes time.

“As you get into the new season you’d hope the players get to know each other better.

“But they’ve all settled in well, they’re all willing to put in a shift and that’s very important.

“If you make a lot of signings some will probably do better than you thought, some might do exactly what you thought and some might not do as well as you thought.

“I think it would be unfair to judge it at the moment.

“They acquitted themselves well against York and got a good result against a league team.

“That gives cause for optimism but we’ve got to try and play as well as we can for the 46 games.”

The Shay chief believes the club is in a stronger position now than they were at the start of the summer.

“I feel we’ve got a few young players now with potential,” he said.

“We’ve certainly got a better balance than we had at the end of last season.

“I think the club’s in a better position because you always need to have a few assets.

“We knew at the end of last season we were losing a couple of assets and there was nothing we could do about that.

“You don’t want to keep losing your best players. It’s inevitable that some were going to leave but we’ve got a few now who will hopefully be here for a while.”

But Aspin is under no illusions about the competitiveness of the season ahead.

He added: “Every year teams strengthen but you’ve got a mixture of teams that will aim to do well.

“But you can’t get away from the fact that you’ve got a lot of big teams that expect to be getting promotion, like your Wrexham’s and other ex-league teams that maybe didn’t do as well last season but are certainly expecting to do well this season.

“It’d be nice to be in the Football League but after having years in the league’s below it’s nice to be here.

“It’s a good league and we’re striving to do well but we know it’ll be difficult.”