FC Halifax Town: Fullarton out to halt Orient express as Shaymen travel to league leaders

Jamie Fullarton
Jamie Fullarton

Boss Jamie Fullarton says he is under no illusions about Town’s trip to league leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday (3pm), but feels it wouldn’t be a shock result if his side were to get something from the game.

Halifax go into the match on the back of a dreadful display in losing 1-0 at home to Maidenhead, which halted an encouraging run of four wins, four draws and one defeat from their previous nine outings.

Orient lost 2-1 at Bromley on Tuesday, but have won eight of their last 10 games and have the best defensive record in the National League.

“When we played Leyton Orient at home I said they were the best team in the league, and I thought they’d win the league,” said Fullarton of the two teams’ previous meeting, a 1-1 draw, in September.

“From that moment, they went from strength-to-strength.

“We were disappointed not to take three points that day because we led going into injury time.

“But they deserved something from the game on their performance.

“They’ve shown their quality throughout (the season). It’ll be a great atmosphere down there, they’re buoyant, they’ve got an abundance of fans having been a League One club three seasons ago.

“It’ll be a great game from all the white noise surrounding it, but it’ll be a very difficult game.”

When asked if the game was a daunting prospect, Fullarton said: “That’s why you play football, to play in those games. That’s the thrill, that pressure of performing against a team that’s doing well in that environment.

“So far from it, it’s why players play and why we work in the industry.”

Fullarton did accept his side will have to raise their game significantly from their last outing to stand a chance of a result though.

“Hugely, but irrelevant of whether it’s Leyton Orient or not, we have to play better if we want to win games in this league,” he said.

“We’ve shown (last Saturday) that if you play at that level, you don’t win games.”

But Fullarton also noted that Town have performed well enough at times, especially against the bigger sides in the league, to suggest they could come away with something.

“I don’t think it would be a shock result for us to get something at Leyton Orient.

“They’re flying high and they’ve been consistent throughout the season, so we’re not deluded in thinking how difficult it will be.

“But it’s not one that we shy away from. Whether it was Leyton Orient or anyone else, we have to perform better if we want to give ourselves the best chance of winning.

“We’ve shown over a reasonable period of time that we’re capable of winning any game against any team in the league.

“Where we need to progress is we have to be more consistent with that.”

Right-back Michael Duckworth (hamstring) and midfielder Niall Maher (thigh) are not expected to feature.

“They picked up muscle injuries, so in the short-term they’re not going to be available for us,” Fullarton said.

“With the end of the season approaching, it’s very difficult to say whether or not they’ll be available.”

Fullarton confirmed that left-back Ryan Sellers has had a consultation over his injury and Town were waiting on the report, but Fullarton conceded it was “very unlikely” the defender would feature again this season.

“We’re down to 16 players. But other people’s misfortune gives others an opportunity, and it’s up to those players to show they merit it in the last five games and moving into next season.”