FC Halifax Town: Youngster Taylor itching for first-team football

Josh Taylor. Picture: Kelly Gilchrist
Josh Taylor. Picture: Kelly Gilchrist

Youngster Josh Taylor feels he is ready for his first taste of senior football after earning a professional contract with FC Halifax Town.

The under 21s captain was one of three youth-team players, along with Jack Bradley and Elliott Harrison, to be awarded a pro deal back in August.

They now train with the first-team on Tuesday and Thursday nights, as well as continuing to attend Calderdale College as part of the club’s youth team programme.

The awarding of professional contracts to the trio is seen as a way of keeping them at the club beyond their initial two years so they can be given additional time to progress.

And Taylor believes experiencing first-team football, at The Shay or out on loan, should be his next step.

“I would really like to be playing week in, week out to continue my development.

“Obviously it’s up to the gaffer but if not at Halifax then I’d be happy to go out on loan.

“I’d prefer Conference North, and I feel I’m good enough to play at that level.

“Hopefully there’s a club in that league that will take a gamble on me and I can show them what I can do.”

The 19-year-old admits it was a relief to be awarded the professional contract, but is only too aware the hard work starts now.

“When I started the first year, it was in my head (to earn a professional deal),” he said.

“I came in early every day and made sure I got to the gym and trained hard so that I could get the contract.

“It is on your mind every day, but if it’s really what you want then it should be at the back of your mind all the time.

“But I know the hard work starts now.”

And hard work isn’t something Taylor is afraid of.

The Essex-born player supplements his training with the youth team by coaching in Bradford primary schools on Monday and Wednesday nights, which he is considering as a possible career if he fails to make the grade as a player.

The central midfielder joined Colchester in the under 9s and progressed to their under 12s before moving to Bradford five years ago due to family issues and joining The Bantams.

He signed for Halifax two years ago, and enjoyed a successful campaign as skipper last season, culminating in being named the youth team’s player of the season.

“It was a really good season for us last season.

“We got the semi-finals of a national cup competition which had 104 teams and finished third in the league behind Guiseley and Gateshead.

“None of the lads had a bad season really so to win that award was great.

“All the lads are very good players but there are a small number of players that it wouldn’t surprise me if they get a professional contract.”

Training with the first-team has been a step-up for Taylor, who is relishing the experience.

“It’s a lot different,” he said. “No disrespect to the lads in the youth team, but you’re training with much better players as a pro, players who’ve been at Football League clubs.

“They’re a good set of lads, they all just want the best for the club so I’ve settled in really well.”