FC Halifax Town: Heath and Carroll finally get their man as Tuton re-joins Halifax

FC Halifax Town v Chester at the Shay. Sean Tuton
FC Halifax Town v Chester at the Shay. Sean Tuton

It’s second time lucky for Billy Heath and Mark Carroll after Shaun Tuton joined Town on loan from Barnsley.

Heath and Carroll tried to sign Tuton for North Ferriby when he was at Buxton but the striker joined Halifax instead.

The striker scored 12 goals for Town in the first-half of the 2015-16 campaign, including 10 in nine matches, before joining Barnsley.

But his career has stalled since then, with the forward not starting a game at Oakwell and his last game for The Tykes coming in April 2016.

Tuton has had two loan spells since leaving Halifax - to Grimsby and Barrow - but only scored once in 24 appearances, with his last senior outing coming for Barrow at Maidstone on April 1 last year, and his last start coming 10 months ago.

Carroll said: “We’ve had a few irons in the fire but thankfully this has come to fruition and we’re looking forward to working with him. We’ve known him for a while.

“He knows the club, which is always a good thing, and he’s scored goals at this level before.

“He is lacking match sharpness, which people have to take into consideration/

“It would be great if he can hit the ground running but it might take him time to adapt to playing regular football, week in, week out.

“Some people adapt quicker than others, but the one thing in his favour is that he knows the club and knows the players who were here when he was here before so that takes a bit of the gamble out of it.

“We know what his capabilities are and we think he can bring something we haven’t got and we’re backing him to do well.

“If he doesn’t for the first game or two people need to persevere and stick with him.”

Carroll didn’t rule out the possibility of the move becoming permanent at the end of the season, with Tuton’s contract at Barnsley set to expire in the summer.

But the assistant manager said Tuton needs to get back playing first and contribute to the team.

“It could take some of the workload off Dents (Tom Denton), and it will probably benefit our midfield too if the play gets a bit more stretched because of Shaun’s pace, that will give our midfielders more time and space on the ball,” Carroll said.

“Not many centre-halves have got the better of Dents aerially this season, so he and Shaun might be able to strike up a good partnership and hopefully they’ll complement each other.

“It should also help the wide men if we are stretching teams and they’re dropping deeper, so we can get the ball out wide and get our wingers running at the full-backs.”

Town have arguably been crying out for a striker with Tuton’s pace all season, and Carroll is pleased he and Heath are set to have more options at their disposal with Tuton’s capture and players returning from injury.

“You do look at how you can improve your team, what you haven’t got and how you can change things,” Carroll said.

“The more options we have the better. You don’t a situation where people know they’re going to be involved week in, week out. You want people to be looking over their shoulder thinking ‘if I don’t perform, I could lose my place’.

“Competition for places keeps people on their toes and makes sure they don’t get complacent.

“It will be nice to have some choices to make about who we leave out.

“We may end up having one or two left out from the matchday squad, and we might also have some good options off the bench.

“When you have injuries and suspensions like we’ve had, the team has been picking itself, which is never a good thing.

“Some of the absences have been of our own making because of poor discipline, but there have also been some ridiculous decisions go against us.

“The worst tackle I’ve seen all season put Martin Riley out of action, and the lad only got booked, yet we’ve seen players get sent-off for less, so there have been inconsistencies.

“But hopefully once we get everyone back fit we can push on.”

Halifax are six wins off exceeding the 50-point target generally considered to guarantee safety in the National League.

But should that be achieved, Carroll doesn’t want The Shaymen to stop there.

“Safety has always been the first priority but we want to finish as high as we can,” he added.

“If and when we are safe, you want to see the players who haven’t played much try to establish themselves in the team and show what they can do.

“Safety is in our hands so we can concentrate on what we need to do.

“Hopefully we can add one or two more to the squad as well as get everyone fit and push on for the rest of the season.”