FC Halifax Town: We can finish the job against Eastleigh, says Hibbs

Football - FC Halifax Town v Stalybridge. Jake Hibbs
Football - FC Halifax Town v Stalybridge. Jake Hibbs

Jake Hibbs sees no reason why Town can’t finish the job against Eastleigh in their FA Cup second round replay on Tuesday night.

The midfielder was a second-half substitute in Sunday’s thrilling draw, and was encouraged enough by Town’s performance after the interval to be confident about their chances of going through next week.

“It was great for the neutral,” he said of Sunday’s game. “We were disappointed to concede two late on.

“But at half-time we’d have taken a draw and the chance to get them back at The Shay.

“It was quite a physical game, they’re a big side.

“There didn’t seem to be a lot of football in it so it always looked like goals would come from set-pieces or mistakes.

“But we’re happy with it. You’ve got to look at the positives, they’re a league above, plenty of money behind them, so it’s a good result.

“I’m confident about our chances now. Especially after the second-half performance.

“If we can tighten up a bit on set-plays, because they are a big team, then I think we can get the win.

“I think it should give us a lot of confidence ahead of the replay, especially given the manner of the performance.

“The performances in the previous three games weren’t anywhere near good enough, whoever was playing.

“So to go to 3-1 up from being 1-0 down (at Eastleigh) showed a lot of character.”

Hibbs feels The Shaymen returned to form in their performance at Eastleigh after poor displays in their previous three outings against Matlock, twice, and Curzon Ashton.

“Maybe it was a bit of naivety,” Hibbs said of those games. “Maybe we thought ‘we’ve just beaten Dagenham, it’s only Curzon’ and we underestimated them perhaps.

“We had the Dagenham game before then and everyone was flying after that.

“You look at the Curzon game and on paper we lost to eight men, but it was different on the pitch.

“Once they went down to eight men it was nigh-on impossible to score.

“That knocked our confidence, and then we changed it about a bit for Matlock.

“We maybe had a few tired legs but every team has patches in the season where they’re not playing well but it’s the way you come through them that’s important and our performance at Eastleigh was good.

“But it’s all about the way you come through it.”

Hibbs has made 17 substitute appearances this season, the only Town player to be in double figures for appearances off the bench.

And that trend could be set to continue after the signing of midfielder Danny Clarke from North Ferriby.

“Whenever’s there’s other people in your position you obviously think about it, but it’s more competition for places, which can only be a good thing,” Hibbs added.

“it makes you want to raise your game, work harder and that’s what the team needs, to work hard and compete for places.

“I’ve not really started many games and it’s tough coming on sometimes and making a difference.

“I’ve just got to keep plugging away and hopefully I’ll cement a place in the team.”