Roberts: Hard for Shaymen to follow last season’s success

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Welling at the Shay. Marc Roberts
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Welling at the Shay. Marc Roberts

Town skipper Marc Roberts admits the club hasn’t hit the heights of last season after missing out on the Conference play-offs.

The Shaymen lost back-to-back games against Barnet and Eastleigh to end their hopes of a top-five finish.

They will now finish no higher than eighth but no lower than 11th depending on their final two results.

Roberts feels Halifax struggled to replace the goals of Lee Gregory after he left the club to join Millwall last summer, with Town scoring only 58 this campaign compared to 85 last term.

He says: “We’ve been in a good position all season although we’ve not really played to our best I don’t think, not as well as last year.

“People had high expectations from last year, we probably over-achieved but with losing 30 goals from Greggs I think we’ve found it difficult at times.

“It has been disappointing but we’ve got to remember we are a part-time team only in our second season at this level.

“We’re probably victims of our own success. We were spoilt a bit last year having someone like Greggs, he won games on his own that put us up there.

“We’ve fallen a bit short this year but we’ve had a good season.

“We’ve probably just been under par a few too many times.”

The Town skipper concedes they have drawn too many games in the Conference, a division he feels isn’t necessarily tougher than it was last season.

“It’s still a good season but the games we’ve drawn we probably should have won,” he says.

“You always look back at those games, I think we’ve drawn nine or 10 of the last 13, and the games away at Southport and at home to Dartford and think if you picked up a few more points in those we’d be right up there.

“That’s the disappointing thing.

“I don’t think the league is particularly tougher this season.

“The quality of the league was better last year - I don’t think there’s anyone that stands out this year.

“They’re all at a fairly similar level - even the teams at the bottom, there’s not that much difference.

“You’ve seen from our performances - we lost at home to Altrincham, when we got battered, but we picked up points against Bristol Rovers and teams like that.”

Roberts believes the club’s part-time status has been a factor this season.

“It is difficult (being part-time). I’ve got it a bit easier because I don’t have a job but a lot of the guys do work nine to five and then they’re coming to training,” says Roberts.

“It’s harder than people think looking from the outside but nobody moans about it from our point of view, we just get on with it.”

Roberts reckons expectations may have been raised too high from last season but says the players feel as disappointed as the fans at not having replicated last season’s top-five finish.

“Supporters are always the same, they want to win every game,” he says.

“We want to win every game as well but it’s not always possible.

“There are a lot of factors that effect each game but it is what it is and the club has just got to look to next season now.”

On a personal level, the 24-year-old credits manager Neil Aspin for his growing reputation, which looks set to earn him a move to the Football League this summer.

“I’ve done alright but at the end of the day it’s not about me,” says Roberts.

“I only look at building what the team does overall.

“Obviously I’d never played in this league before and the first game I played for Halifax was probably the worst game I’ve ever played.

“But the gaffer does instil confidence in you and he’s stuck by me since I came here.

“The credit’s to him really.

“I think I have grown into the role (as captain) and become a bit more responsible on the pitch and that’s helped me to develop as a player as well.”