FC Halifax Town: I want to push myself to the max, says Maher

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Dag and Red, at the MBI Shay. Niall Maher celebrates a goal with the Town fans.
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Dag and Red, at the MBI Shay. Niall Maher celebrates a goal with the Town fans.

Town defender Niall Maher says Jamie Fullarton is the right man for him and the club after signing a two-year contract at The Shay.

The pair worked together at Bolton when Fullarton was manager of the club’s under 21 side.

Maher featured in nine of the 11 games Town played after joining The Shaymen in early March, and was only on the losing side twice.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the club so far, right from when I first came in,” he said.

“The club made me and my family feel very welcome straight away.

“Obviously I’ve been able to get game time there too.

“A big factor in me signing was how they’ve treated me. It’s a family club, but it’s also a big club and one I want to be part of for a few years.”

On Town boss Fullarton, Maher said: “The gaffer was a big factor (in signing a new contract), as well as the size of the club.

“I’ve built up a good relationship with him over the years. I feel like he’s the right man for Halifax and the right man for me to develop as a player.

“When I first came into the club, I knew what he was about straight away having worked with him before. He’s hard-working and he always puts that extra mile in off the field that a lot of people don’t see.

“To have him as a mentor and a manager was something I want to be part of.

“I want to push myself to the max.”

When asked where he hopes to be in two years’ time, Maher replied: “Two years is a long time, a lot can happen.

“I would want to say that next year we could be in the Football League, and I’m here to try and do that.

“If we get the right players in - the manager will have his targets - we will be pushing for a good season.”

Town will adopt a full-time model from next season, something Maher feels is the right decision.

“I’ve always been full-time, so last year, being part-time, was a bit different for me,” he said.

“But obviously I’m going back to full-time now, which, in this league, to get out of it, you have to be full-time because most teams are.

“You can see that with Tranmere and Macclesfield going up last season, who were both full-time.

“You can put in extra time on the training pitch, which you need, and it gives you that extra time to bond as a team because you’re training together more often.

“That’s a big factor when it comes to a Saturday in that last five or 10 minutes when you’re pushing for a goal or holding on. That togetherness will see you through.”

Maher feels there is still more to come from his as a player, and will complete his longest spell at any club since starting his career at Bolton if he sees out his two-year deal with Halifax.

He joined Town from Telford following a spell in Irish football with Galway United, but could only train with Telford while waiting for his international clearance to come through, meaning he didn’t play between October last year and February this year.

He said: “I’m a player that can play in various positions. I think you’ve seen that last season.

“I’m looking forward to getting a full season under my belt, which hasn’t happened for 12 months. Obviously waiting to get international clearance held me up.

“But the past is the past, you can only affect the present.”

Maher played with new signing Sanmi Odelusi at Bolton, and was pleased to see the winger join him at The Shay.

“I had a smile on my face when I saw that,” Maher said. “He’s a top lad, a very honest bloke.”

On what Town fans can expect from Odelusi, Maher added: “A lot of tricks and skill. He’s powerful. Definitely someone that can get the fans off their seats.

“He will be a big factor in us having a good season.”