FC Halifax Town: Hotte happy to put in the hard yards for the cause

Barrow v Halifax. Nathan Hotte. Picture: North West Evening Mail
Barrow v Halifax. Nathan Hotte. Picture: North West Evening Mail

No wonder Nathan Hotte took the day off work last Wednesday - the midfielder’s performance in Town’s 3-0 win at Leyton Orient the night before had typified his industrious start to the season.

Hotte has largely gone under the radar at The Shay since joining from North Ferriby last summer, but made 40 appearances last term, with only five players starting more games for Town last season.

The utility man has looked comfortable in central defence and central midfield for The Shaymen, but has impressed as Halifax’s holding midfielder this season - his first campaign in the fifth tier.

He gave a typically energy-sapping display at Leyton Orient last Tuesday night, the type of performance the full-time office worker is happy to provide.

“I don’t mind doing a bit of the donkey work and helping the defence out,” he said, “then that lets the flair players like Josh Macdonald, Matty Kosylo and Adam Morgan to get on the ball and get us goals.

“I’m more than happy doing that.

“I was cramping up a bit at Leyton Orient and then it was a case of going again at Dagenham, but that’s part and parcel of it.

“I get a bit of rest at work so it’s not too bad, although I booked a holiday day after Leyton Orient. I don’t think I’d have been in great shape at work if I’d gone in.”

Town are eighth in the National League and only two points off top spot after winning five of their first 11 games.

“It’s a good start,” said Hotte. “We’d have taken that at the start of the season, but we’ve got to bounce back now and hopefully get a win on Saturday.

“I think we showed the character we’ve got in the second-half at Dagenham - a lot of teams being 3-0 at half-time would have ended up getting thrashed 5-0 or 6-0, but we won the second-half 1-0.

“I’m sure we’ll bounce back on Saturday.”

When asked if he was surprised by the club’s start to the season, Hotte said: “Not at all. We’ve got a great set of lads and we’re all pulling in the same direction.

“If you’ve got that then you’ve always got a chance of doing something.

“On our day I think we can match anyone but we’ve got to be 100 per cent in order to do that.

“It’s a tough division and there’s full-time teams. It’s a step-up and it’s a lot sharper because the majority of teams are full-time and they’re training every day.

“It’s a challenge but it’s one that we’re up for.”

The challenge proved too strong for Town last Saturday when they lost 3-1 at Dagenham and Redbridge - their first defeat in seven games.

“I think it was one of those days where we didn’t turn up in the first-half and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb,” said Hotte, who made his sixth consecutive start in the game.

“We’ve done alright to win the second-half but they’ll be up there, they’re a good team.

“It’s a hard division and we’ve got to be 100 per cent every single game. But we were a bit off it last Saturday and that’s why we found ourselves 3-0 down at half-time.”

Hotte and Connor Oliver appear to have established themselves as Billy Heath’s preferred partnership in central midfield, and it’s a combination Hotte feels is developing well.

“Connor is technically very, very good,” Hotte said. “When he’s on the ball he can make things happen. It seems to be working alright at the minute.

“We’ve been working in partnerships, with Browny and Garns at the back. The more you can play together the better understanding you get, you know where they’re going to be and it hopefully gets better the more you play together.”

Hotte is optimistic about Town’s prospects this season, and reckons they should be aiming higher than just survival.

He added: “We want to get 50 points on the board as soon as we can and then you reassess things.

“We want to try and be in the mix at the end of the season, and hopefully we can get in the play-offs. Anything can happen.”