FC Halifax Town v Havant and Waterlooville: Opposition focus

Town keeper Sam Johnson just fails to clear a Nicke Kabamba cross which earns the Havant player a goal in the game between the two sides earlier this season, in which Havant won.''Picture: Keith Woodland
Town keeper Sam Johnson just fails to clear a Nicke Kabamba cross which earns the Havant player a goal in the game between the two sides earlier this season, in which Havant won.''Picture: Keith Woodland

FC Halifax Town will host “a team of battlers and fighters” when they play Havant and Waterlooville on Saturday, according to Kevin Ricketts, who covers the club for the Portsmouth News.

Havant are one place below safety in the National League, two points adrift of 20th placed Dover, having been promoted from the Conference South last season.

The part-time club have only won two away league games all season, with only Aldershot having lost more away league matches.

Havant have the leakiest defence in the fifth tier, but have scored more away league goals than any other side in the bottom half of the table.

Havant go into the game on the back of a dispiriting 6-2 defeat at Fylde on Tuesday after losing 3-2 at home to Wrexham last Saturday.

Ricketts says they are “fighting for their lives” to avoid the drop.

“They’ve played well in periods of games, and been in matches,” he said.

“They matched Wrexham in the first-half, but then they scored three goals in 15 minutes which destroyed them, although Wrexham were hanging on at the end.

“It’s whether they have enough to win games.

“I think (whether they survive) will go down to the wire.

“It would be an achievement if they stayed up, which was the case at the start of the season.

“The aim is just to be better than four other teams.

“They’ve not beaten a team in the top 10 this season, so if they are going to stay up, games like this are the ones that count.

“They’re a team of battlers and fighters.

“They get the ball down and play in a positive way, try to get on the front foot.

“The biggest thing about them is the spirit in their squad.”

Ricketts says all-action midfielder Wes Fogden, “who has that go-forward factor” is Havant’s key man.

“Matt Patterson played up-front on his own against Fylde, but against Wrexham they played Joe Quigley, Alfie Rutherford and Hassan Jalloh in a front-three.

“Rutherford is their top-scorer and they might opt to play him up-front.

“They need to get something.

“If they can come back with a win, that would be the aim, but they need to avoid coming back with nothing.

“It’s been a tough week. They didn’t get back from Fylde until 4.30am on Wednesday, and then some of the players were working that day.”

Wing-back Rory Williams, who Ricketts says has been their best player over the past three seasons, suffered a badly bruised foot at Fylde, so is unlikely to play.

Centre-back Paul Robinson is unlikely to play for the rest of the season, and Brad Tarbuck has also been ruled out for the season.

“There could be a new face brought in for the game though, I wouldn’t be surprised,” added Ricketts.