FC Halifax Town: Defensive record is an embarrassment, says McManus

FC Halifax Town v Altrincham
FC Halifax Town v Altrincham

Town defender Scott McManus admits he’s embarrassed by the team’s defensive record, and believes the appointment of Darren Kelly as manager has played a huge part in their current plight.

Halifax have conceded 81 goals in the Conference National - 28 of which came in Kelly’s seven league games at the helm - their highest tally since the 2001-02 season.

The left-back admits the squad have to shoulder some of the blame for their position in the table, but is unequivocal about the biggest factor.

“The appointment of Darren Kelly, if you want me to be brutally honest,” he said.

“Things didn’t go very well but I’m not just going to blame him, it’s the same group of players that are out there now.

“But he wasn’t really interested in defending, he was more about going for attack and scoring goals.

“You look at our goal difference and I’m part of that back-four and I’m embarrassed about it.

“It’s disgusting really. I’ve never been part of a team that’s finished with a minus goal difference.”

Only Kingsley James and James Bolton have started more matches for Town than McManus this season.

He is bullish about Town’s survival chances, with Halifax occupying the last relegation spot in the Conference with two games left.

“We’ve just got to try our best in the last two games,” he said.

“If we can win them both that should see us through.

“I’ve never been in this position before and it’s not a nice feeling but if we can get out of it, it would be one hell of a good feeling.”

McManus, who is Town’s longest-serving player, is hoping The Shaymen can pick up where they left off against Eastleigh in midweek.

“We looked better on Tuesday,” he said.

“I thought we were the better team.

“No-one would have argued if we’d come off with a win so hopefully that’ll give us some confidence going into the next game.

“They’re guaranteed to finish in the play-offs which might work in our favour but they’ll have people who want to prove themselves to get into the team.

“But if we play like we did on Tuesday maybe we can come away with something.”

Town have now gone six hours without a goal, but McManus refuses to lay the blame at the door of the strikers.

He added: “It’s not the forwards’ fault. Football starts from the back and I don’t think we’ve played enough football in the last six hours.

“We’ve had a few chances where you could say the strikers could have scored but it’s not for lack of work rate.

“Jordan Burrow and Richard Peniket, who has only just come back from a serious injury, are both working their socks off trying everything.