proud day for skipper

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SKIPPER Tom Baker will be the proudest man at the Shay when he leads Town out against Charlton Athletic in the first round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

The 26-year-old was handed the armband by manager Neil Aspin at the start of the season, having played under the likes of experienced defenders Ryan Crossley and Mark Bower in his time at the club.

And with the eyes of the nation on him and the team, Baker is approaching the task with pride and excitement.

“I am just proud to be captain,” he said, “ I really am.

“I know everyone says that when they have the armband, but it is such a fantastic club.

“And I could not be prouder than taking the side out into such a big FA Cup game.

“It will probably be a mix of nerves and excitement, but I will be looking forward to it.”

Baker is a rare beast in non League football having made well in excess of 100 league appearances for one club.

Signed by former manager Jim Vince from Bradford Park Avenue, he has been a regular in central midfield for two and a half seasons and will be the only player in Sunday’s team not to have been brought in by Aspin.

“It seems so long since I signed,” he said. “And in non League you never really know from one minute to the next where you are going to be.

“I have had a great time here and I am just pleased for everyone at the club that we have got this game.

“We have been unlucky in the past couple of seasons and it is fantastic not only for the team, but the Gaffer who has done an amazing job, the chairman and the board and the supporters.

“It is going to be a good day.”

It is also a potentially difficult day for the Shaymen against the best side in the competition at the first round stage.

Charlton are five points clear of Huddersfield Town at the top of League One and have a big enough squad to allow manager Chris Powell to make 11 changes to his team if he wants.

They have won their last four league games, scoring 15 goals into the bargain, so it is going to be a major test for the Shaymen.

“How do you combat them?” asked Baker. “That’s the million dollar question.

“We will have a game plan - we never go into a game without one.

“What will happen is that we will give our all and, hopefully, make Halifax proud.

“Upsets have happened before in cup competitions.”

However Town approach the game, Baker is looking forward to the unusual experience for a Town player of being in the less fancied side.

Since he arrived at the club in October 2008, the Shaymen have been strong favourites to win just about every game they have played.

“Since I have been here there have been very few games we have not been expected to win,” he said.

“On Sunday we definitely are the underdogs and I quite like that.

“Personally, I love the big games and I think I get the best out of myself when it is really needed.

“And I am sure that you will see that from all the team on Sunday.”