FC Halifax Town: Town boss Fullarton not taking FA Cup opponents Warrington lightly

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Chesterfield, at the Shay. Jamie Fullarton
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Chesterfield, at the Shay. Jamie Fullarton

Town boss Jamie Fullarton is warning Town are in for a difficult game at Warrington in the FA Cup on Saturday, but wants his team to approach it with belief and confidence.

Warrington are second in the Northern Premier League, two levels below The Shaymen, having finished third in the division last season.

They lost 1-0 at home to Matlock Town last Saturday, their first defeat since the opening day of the season, ending a run of 14 games unbeaten.

“The minimum in our approach is attitude and application, we make sure that’s right,” said the Town boss.

“There’s variables you don’t control, but the ones you do, make sure they’re applied accordingly.

“It’ll be a difficult game away from home, especially against a side that has momentum and is doing well.

“But we have to appreciate, realise and understand what we are, where we’re at, and make sure we approach it with belief and confidence that we can win the game.”

Fullarton is not taking Warrington lightly, but insists Town’s fate will rest on their approach to the game.

“It’s a different competition, with the history and tradition, and it’s something as a player and coaching staff, that you look forward to,” he said.

“It’s winner takes all, so it adds a different edge to it in many people’s eyes. For me, it’s the same approach.

“Obviously we’re away from home against a team that’s doing very well in their league.

“They’re a club that’s invested heavily for their level and just missed out on promotion last season through the play-offs.

“They’ve got quite a few players that have played higher than our level in their team. I think that tells you how tough a task it’s going to be.

“But then it’s about how our approach is and making sure that we perform and match the standards that we’ve set to go and win the game.”

Town will pocket £25,000 in prize money if they win, but a place in the first round is the only incentive for Fullarton.

“My focus is on winning the game, whether we’re playing for tiddlywinks or good prize money,” he said.

“It makes no difference to me or the players. The opportunity to get into the next round of the FA Cup is the prize for us, that’s where our focus is.

“We’ll be doing everything in terms of preparation to make sure that, come Saturday, we’re ready to put ourselves in the best position to win the game.”

Niall Maher and James Berrett were forced off during the game last Saturday with injuries.

Matty Brown, Jordan Preston and Ryan Sellers missed the draw with Chesterfield, and Fullarton said their absences were all due to soft tissue injuries.

“Players are keen to be back involved and we want them back as soon as possible, as do the fans,” said Fullarton.

“But it’s done on a day-by-day basis to see how they act and react to what we’re doing with them to see if they can be involved or not.”

When asked if he was tempted to stick to the 3-4-1-2 system he deployed against Chesterfield, Fullarton said: “It’s a different game, different opposition, different players available.

“Over the week we’ve worked on our game plan, that’s our preparation where we set out to try and win each game that we play.

“What forms and shapes that is not the principles of how we look to play, obviously we’re looking to create as many goalscoring opportunities as possible, but how we apply it, whether it be a change in shape, the formation, the personnel.

“Some of that you don’t have control over. But we’ll be looking to put the strongest team out in a system to apply our principles to win the game.

“That’s how we do it from week-to-week, hence why there has been changes in shape or subtle changes in formation at different times during the season, depending on who we play, where we play and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

Fullarton says his best run in knockout competitions as a player came when playing for French club Bastia.

“I did OK in cup competitions in general whether it be in Scotland, England or France,” he added.

“You can’t relate it to the FA Cup, but we got to the quarter-finals in France and got knocked out in a derby game on penalties.

“But I would put the FA Cup and the Scottish Cup in the same bracket as being special for players and fans.

“Although the approach to it from some Premier League clubs has come in for criticism, at our level, being in this round, our aim is to get into the next one, and make sure we go about it in the best way on Saturday to get into the hat for the next round.”