FC Halifax Town: Survival is all in the mind for midfielder Collins

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Dag and Red, at the MBI Shay. Michael Collins
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Dag and Red, at the MBI Shay. Michael Collins

Michael Collins believes having the right mentality will be the key to Town avoiding relegation from the National League.

The midfielder has proved an inspired signing since being tempted out of retirement in December, adding guile and experience to the side.

And the former Huddersfield man, who has been relegated with Scunthorpe and Leyton Orient, is adamant that Town’s fate could rest on how they approach their end-of-season run-in.

He said: “I’ve been in squads fighting for promotion and against relegation, and been part of sides that have been relegated.

“I don’t think there’s a massive amount between the two, a lot of it comes down to belief and mentality, focusing on what you have to do.

“I don’t think there’s a lot between the teams in the National League but the best teams are the ones with the best mentality and who are prepared to do the right things in training and in games.

“One of the big things is not to get caught up in the league table and thinking “if we get a win here or a win there, we’ll be fine” because it never works out like that. “There’s always a team who has a great run or a bit of luck goes against you and you get dragged right back into it, and then you don’t have the right mentality going into what become massive games.

“All we can do is focus on the next game. People will be speculating about where we can get our next win but we have to look no further than Boreham Wood.

“They’re fighting for promotion so it won’t be easy. We just need to relax, stay calm and keep our focus.”

Town face a hectic schedule of four games in eight days starting on Saturday with their home clash against Boreham Wood, with Easter Monday’s postponed match against Gateshead being rearranged for Thursday next week.

“I think there’s pros and cons to it,” Collins said of The Shaymen’s crammed fixture list, “but personally I like it because, as a footballer, you just want to play games.

“If you’ve had a bad result, before you can start thinking about it, the next game is coming up and that gives you a chance to put it right.

“Physically it will be demanding, especially as we’re a part-time squad, but training is very intense and the lads look after themselves, so I don’t think fitness will be an issue.

“Hopefully we can use it as a positive and build some momentum.

“Plus three of them are home games, which is another plus. Hopefully the fans can get behind us and spur us on.

“We want to be safe as quickly as possible, we don’t want it dragging on.”

Collins added: “We would have loved to have played on Monday (against Gateshead). If we’d have beaten them we’d have overtaken them and dragged them right down into it.

“It would have been perfect timing to get the Fylde game out of our system but hopefully it’ll be a blessing in disguise and it gives us extra recovery and preparation time for the mammoth week coming up.

“It is going to be a massive ask but the confidence is there in the group. We know we will score goals and pick up results.”

Collins is keen for Town to maintain their six-point gap to the relegation zone, but is under no illusions it could trimmed quickly.

“The most important thing is that it’s in our hands,” he said.

“Whether you’re fighting for promotion or relegation you want to know you’re in control of your own fate and you’re not relying on anyone else.

“We’ve got that little cushion but that can quickly disappear if we lose on Saturday and Solihull win.

“We can’t take anything for granted so we need to avoid any complacency and looking at it as if we’re already safe, but I’m sure we’ll be fine.”