FC Halifax Town: Hone puts the case for the defence

FC Halifax Town v Harrogate Town. Danny Hone
FC Halifax Town v Harrogate Town. Danny Hone

Danny Hone has put the case for Town’s defence by insisting an understanding is starting to develop at the back.

Halifax kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season by beating Bradford Park Avenue 4-0 on Saturday.

But that was only their fifth clean sheet in their first 13 matches, with the team conceding too many soft goals in the opening two months of the campaign.

Hone, who has started 11 of Town’s first 13 games, has been encouraged by Halifax’s last two outings, and says a patient approach will eventually pay dividends.

“It does take time, these things don’t happen overnight,” he said.

“Even in the Premier League, it takes a bit of time just for everyone to slowly suss out each other’s game.

“It does become second nature when you play with someone week in, week out, knowing where they’re going to be and what they’re going to do.

“But you can’t get that in just a few games.

“That’s slowly coming. On Saturday, whenever they did get through there was always someone there, so it’s slowly coming together.”

“I don’t want to jinx it but hopefully we’ll keep keeping the clean sheets and let the lads up-front do what they do.

“It’s always good to get clean sheets, no matter who you are playing.

“Yes people will say we’ve played a team a couple of leagues below and then a team bottom of the league, but it doesn’t matter - you still have to beat them.

“They’re two positive results for us, good for confidence building, so hopefully we can keep going.”

Former Lincoln defender Hone admits Town have blown hot and cold so far this season, and feels their attacking potency has been matched by their defensive flaws.

“We’ve been a little bit inconsistent,” he admitted. “In the last couple of games we’ve started to find our feet a bit and it’s starting to come together.

“We’ve got to keep on top of it now and keep the consistency going.

“When we don’t play well we need to make sure we keep battling and still get a win.

“The most disappointing thing is that as a ream we haven’t defended as well as we know we can, which we are working hard on.

“But when we go forward we look like we’re going to score every time.

“We’ve got a really good set of lads and I think you can see the team spirit we’ve got.

“We like to graft for each other.

“There’s positives going forward, some negatives defensively so we need to find that balance.”

Hone believes Town are wising up at the back after some naive defending.

“There’s been a little bit of naivety in that, yes we’re good going forward, but sometimes we don’t realise what we’re leaving behind,” he said.

“We’ve got to make sure we get our balance right in terms of if we are going forward, we make sure we’re solid at the back.

“That’s a bit of naivety and a bit of game management, which we’re slowly working our way through.

“You saw on Saturday that we kept the number of shots against us to a minimum, which is good.”

Hone, who won promotion from the Conference North with North Ferriby last season, feels the standard of the division has risen this season.

“It’s a lot tougher,” he said. “I didn’t realise how tough this league was going to be this year.

“There’s a lot of good teams out there.

“Even Bradford Park Avenue tried to play their football and at times caused us problems.

“There’s a big divide happening in the league between bottom and top, and even if you put a couple of wins together you’re only just creeping up the league, so we need to make sure we cancel out all those defeats, keep chipping away at it and we’ll be somewhere there or thereabouts.”

Town face Stalybridge in the FA Cup at the Shay on Saturday, and Hone reckons another clean sheet in that game would go a long way to ensuring victory.

He added: “It’s always nice to play in, no matter who you’re playing against.

“Everyone wants to make it to the dream scenario of reaching round three.

“We’ll keep going, take each game as it comes and try to build something.

“We’ve got two clean sheets, two wins and lots of goals so that will be the next aim, keep another clean sheet and another couple of goals.

“I’ll hold my hands up, if we concede a goal and I’m at fault I’ll take the flak.

“But in a team game you all have to defend when we haven;t got the ball.

“It starts from Tom Denton right the way back to Drenchy. It’s something we’re working on.

“But we fancy ourselves that if we keep a clean sheet we can score against anyone.”