FC Halifax Town: Fullarton wants Shaymen to pick up the pace in FA Trophy clash

Football - FC Halifax Town v Braintree. Halifax manager Jamie Fullarton
Football - FC Halifax Town v Braintree. Halifax manager Jamie Fullarton

Boss Jamie Fullarton is demanding an FC Halifax Town side full of tempo and energy in their FA Trophy second round clash at home to Solihull on Saturday.

The Shaymen go into the tie on the back of a dreary 0-0 draw with bottom-club Braintree last Saturday.

Town produced some pedestrian performances at times over the Christmas and New Year period, despite garnering credible results against play-off chasing Harrogate and Gateshead.

Solihull won 2-1 at Gateshead on Tuesday to move within three points of top spot in the National League.

“That was an excellent result,” said Fullarton. “Obviously it was a big game for them last night being their game-in-hand.

“Having played them already we know what to expect when they turn up on Saturday.

“Great credit to them, they’re investing heavily, not just on the pitch but off it as well in terms of infrastructure, and they’re reaping the rewards.

“The majority of the players hadn’t been in brought in until February/March.

“But we’re looking more at can we negate their strengths on the pitch and can we exploit their weaknesses.

“We got a credible draw down at their place in the league. That was a difficult game and I don’t expect it to be any different come Saturday.”

Halifax drew 0-0 at Solihull in the league back in October. When asked if Town can take confidence from that result, Fullarton said: “I don’t think it’s a case of lacking confidence, whoever we play.

“It doesn’t always manifest into a performance or a result.

“But I think we’ve played 10 games against the top seven or eight sides, and only lost one game.

“It’s important we play at a tempo, with an energy and in a way that gives us the best chance to win the game.

“Whilst respecting and understanding how difficult it will be against Solihull.

“It’s a competition we value very much, having been a recent winner.

“The fact we’re playing a team third in our league means it’s a difficult game.

“The fact they didn’t agree to having it finish on the day, and want a replay, says that they value the competition, and want to give themselves the best chance to go through.

“So it’s set-up for a cracking cup tie. I think they’ll play a full-strength team, they haven’t got any major injury worries.

“It’s something we’ll look forward to. It’ll be a physical test, and if we can stand up to that, whilst imposing ourselves with how we play, then I’m sure it’ll be a cracking game.”

Defender Ryan Sellers is available after missing out against Braintree, but the fitness of winger Ben Tomlinson was due to be assessed ahead of Saturday’s game.

“He had a reaction due to the overload of coming back so soon and doing so much,” said Fullarton.

“At this stage, I can’t say what his position will be.

“James (Berrett) is getting closer, but he’s not quite there.

“The fact he can start joining in and be involved with the full sessions means he’s on the grass with us, but he just needs more time.”

Fullarton said midfielder Cameron King was not close to joining in with training as his recovery from a knee injury continues.

Town will be three more victories from a return to Wembley if they win on Saturday, but Fullarton is keen that doesn’t become a distraction.

“I want the players to be task-focused,” he added. “Motivation comes from them striving to be the best they can.

“It’s too far to be seen as a motivational tool, and it could also be a distraction.

“Whilst you’re thinking about that, then the real-life game’s going on.

“Let’s look at Solihull, and put ourselves in the best position to be in the next round.”