FC Halifax Town: Opposition focus

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Most of Saturday’s opponents Havant and Waterlooville’s results this season have not reflected their performances, says Portsmouth News writer Kevin Ricketts.

The Hawks are third from bottom in the National League having won three, drawn five and lost 10 of their 18 league games so far this campaign after they were promoted from the National League South.

“Havant have struggled to find their feet,” says Ricketts, “though most of the results have not reflected their performances. They have been competitive in all the games apart from Bromley away (0-4) and Leyton Orient away (0-4).

“Their worst performance was a fortnight ago when they were disappointingly knocked out of the FA Cup by Metropolitan Police (0-1).

“Up until Tuesday night against Maidenhead (7-0) they had gone four games without a goal. The visitors did have their goalkeeper sent off in the first half and didn’t have a substitute goalkeeper on the bench.”

Ricketts has been impressed by five-goal top-scorer Nicke Kabamba.

“He signed from Portsmouth and has done well as a big target man up front. His strike partner Alfie Pavey however up until Tuesday, when he grabbed a brace, has found it difficult to repeat his goalscoring of last season when he finished top goalscorer in Conference South with Dartford.”

And Ricketts says Halifax need to be wary of young striker Alfie Rutherford.

“He was recalled from his loan at Eastbourne Borough after scoring a hat-trick last weekend. Going on as a second half substitute he scored twice in the second half against Maidenhead.”

Ricketts says Havant like to play a passing game using the pace of their wing-backs.

“Rory Williams and Bradley Tarbuck like to get down the flanks. Ex-Burnley midfielder Brian Stock is very influential in prompting Hawks attacks.

“But they have an ever-growing injury list. The biggest miss is Wes Fogden in midfield. He is the ‘Duracell Battery’ of the team and his energy and vitality have been badly missed. Ex-Wimbledon and Portsmouth defender Paul Robinson is also a doubt and the absence his experience in the back four could be another factor. Also likely to be missing are Mike Carter, Ed Harris, Ibra Sekajja, Jordan Rose and Theo Lewis.

“At the back you are likely to see Dan Strugnell, Tyler Cordner, impressive AFC Bournemouth loanee, Ryan Woodford and Will Wood on loan from Accrington Stanley.

“Wing backs will be Bradley Tarbuck and Rory Williams. In midfield there is Brian Stock, Andreas Robinson and possibly Alex Bradley on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

“Up front, any two from three of Kabamba, Pavey and Rutherford.

“The latter may be used as an impact substitute again.”