FC Halifax Town: Middle man Josh making up for lost time

Football - FC Halifax Town v Eastleigh. Josh Staunton
Football - FC Halifax Town v Eastleigh. Josh Staunton

Josh Staunton’s Town career was only 96 minutes old when he suffered the ankle injury that would rule him out for nearly two months.

But since returning to the side as a goalscoring substitute in the 2-2 draw at Bromley on September 29, the former Woking man has been an ever-present for Halifax.

And almost all of Staunton’s playing time with Town has come in central midfield, rather than centre-half, where he has played for most of his career until now.

“It’s a position I’ve not really had much exposure to since I was 11 or 12,” he said.

“So it has taken some getting used to, how the manager wants me to play in there, understanding the role.

“As a centre-half there’s nothing behind you, you’re in different areas of the pitch, you have everything in-front of you and you can see the whole pitch, whereas as a central midfielder you need to try and get on the half-turn, check over your shoulder and be more aware of what’s around you, and try to get on the ball and play forward.

“When we spoke he (Jamie Fullarton) said he could see me playing as a holding midfielder, so I knew it was a possibility when I came here.

“I’ve always been versatile, I’ve played right-back, centre-half, so I wasn’t really phased by it.

“It’s just a case of understanding the position and hopefully I’ll get better and better in time.”

Staunton admits his injury was disruptive coming so soon into his Town career.

“It’s been tough,” he said. “You come here to a new club, moving away, and you just want to hit the ground running.

“To come off injured so soon was disappointing, and to be out for so long was hard.

“It set me back in terms of my progress and understanding my position. I missed eight weeks of that, so I’m eight weeks behind where I should have been.

“But sometimes I do think ‘yeah, I feel like a midfielder now’ but other times I think I’ve still got things to learn.

“I feel like in some games I really fit in, and there’s other games where maybe the shape we’re playing against has an impact.

“But hopefully that will come in time. That’s part and parcel of learning a new position.”

Staunton is among the Town contingent who moved up north when joining the club, and the 23-year-old says living away from home can be a double-edged sword.

“I train in a morning and then go to the gym in the afternoon,” he said.

“There is a lot of spare time. At home you have other things to do, like see your family and friends, whereas here, most of the time, I go back to my house and spend time on my own. So you have to enjoy your own company!

“But it does give you a lot more focus on football.

“I think sometimes it benefits and sometimes it hinders. You might over-think things when there’s nothing to over-think, but that’s life.

“But it’s definitely got its positives, like the gym work, I can really focus on that every day.”

Staunton shares a house in Leeds with team-mates Ryan Sellers, Shaun Rowley and Cameron King.

“We all get on well,” he added, “so it’s nice to go home and chill with them sometimes.

“We go to the cinema a lot. There is a lot of down time.

“But we’re all in the same boat, not many friends up here!

“But Leeds is good, I really like it. The people are nice, northern people are really nice. I like it.”