Town boss calls for a patient approach with new-look squad

FC Halifax Town v Chester at the Shay. Neil Aspin
FC Halifax Town v Chester at the Shay. Neil Aspin

Neil Aspin has called on supporters to show some patience with his new-look squad as Town go in search of their first points of the season at home to Torquay on Saturday (3.0).

A 1-0 home defeat to Chester on Tuesday meant Halifax started the new campaign with back-to-back defeats following last weekend’s 3-1 loss at Boreham Wood.

The Shaymen fielded seven debutants last Saturday, with six players making their home débuts in midweek.

The Town boss accepts he will come under fire from some fans if results don’t pick up, but wants supporters to get behind his players.

“I’m not going to make excuses, it’s all down to results and if you’re not getting results then obviously you’re going to get criticism,” he said.

“If people can give me the criticism and give the players time then that’s what they have to do.

“I think they’ve got to be patient with the players. We’ve got several young players as well and they’re learning the game.

“You Josh (Macdonald) is learning the game, Jake Hibbs, Sean Tuton’s new to this league, Connor Hughes is not going to be at his best until he learns a little bit more.

“So we’ve got a lot of people who are on a learning curve. They will get better but obviously time in football is not something you get a lot of.

“I’m aware of that but I’ve got to keep the confidence of the players up, I’ve got to help the younger lads in the team, encourage them and I’m sure they’ll get better.”

Aspin confirmed the decisions not to play Matty Brown on Tuesday and to substitute Josh Macdonald at half-time were tactical, so both should be in contention to feature on Saturday.

The Town boss admits a win would be a confidence boost for the team, and took some positives from their second-half showing against Chester.

“When you’ve got a lot of new players they need to be winning some games to get some confidence, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“They’ll all benefit from getting three points.

“But nobody’s going to give us three points and it’s a tough league.

“When you’re in a run you’ve just got to keep working hard.

“I will do my best. I will prepare the team as best I can.

“At the end of the day, as long as the players give their best that’s all you can ask.

“I felt they did that in the second-half.

“They didn’t lie down, because I felt in the first-half Chester were having a good spell.

“I thought we rolled our sleeves up in the second-half and had a good go so I have to take some positives out of that.”

Aspin believes his side have been unlucky with refereeing decisions in their opening two games of the campaign, but admits both results have added to the importance of a win against The Gulls.

“We’re under pressure to get a result on Saturday,” he said, “but I’m under pressure every game to get a result because every time we play we want to do well.

“I don’t sleep particularly well when we’re losing so every game is the same - we want to win, we’ll be trying our best.

“The other side of the coin is you need a bit of luck at times. You need the rub of the green.

“You need Jake Hibbs’ shot that hits the post to go in on Saturday, you need the goal that’s disallowed on Tuesday to stand or maybe to get the penalty with the push in the back on Jake.

“Unfortunately we’re not getting that at the moment.”

Town switched to a 4-4-2 in the second-half on Tuesday, and Aspin intimated this could be an option from the start against Torquay.

“The second-half was better - whether we need to play with an extra striker to put the opposition under pressure, you’d probably say that at home we maybe need to look to do that more,” he said.

“I need to think about it - as a manager you’re always thinking about it.

“It’s difficult when you’re not winning, it’s always on your mind.

“I’ve got to try and turn this run of poor results around.

“It’s only two defeats but I’m well aware that we’ve not done well since Christmas of last year.

“There’s nobody knows that more than me, but we’re only two games in.

“A victory would give everybody a lift - supporters and players.

“But nobody’s going to give us points. We’ve got to work hard and if we do that, it’ll turn.”

Aspin admits he has the option to change things round, with the likes of Sam Walker and Kevin Roberts yet to feature for Town so far this campaign.

“I’ve got a few options but it’s hard for people who are coming in,” he said.

“It’s easier if you’re coming in to a winning team but there are opportunities for everyone.

“We’ve got to keep going, keep trying our best and you know that once you get a result then it gives you something to work on and things can turn.”

The Town boss has been delighted with the impact of attacker Sean Tuton in the opening two games, with the former Buxton man a constant thorn in Chester’s side in midweek after a solid début performance last weekend.

“Sean’s done really well,” Aspin enthused. “I was really pleased with him on Tuesday.

“He worked his socks off and his crossing was absolutely excellent.

“We thought we’d never get anyone better than Adam Smith for crosses but he’s producing equally good crosses and his work-rate is fantastic.

“I’m really pleased with him - he’s been a real plus in the last couple of games.”

Aspin also has high hopes for Macdonald, who has started on the opposite flank to Tuton in the first two matches.

“He’s learning. He’s done well to get in the team from the start. He played on Saturday, he played again on Tuesday and Josh will learn,” Aspin said.

“He knows a couple of things he should have done better with but he’s going to develop into a good player.

“I’ve got to manage him properly and I’ve got to take care with him and make sure he’s handled properly.”

Aspin says sloppy play at both ends of the pitch have cost his side in their opening two games.

“We’ve got no points so obviously I’m not happy but you don’t need to over-analyse Saturday’s game,” he said.

“We made mistakes and that cost us the game.

“I don’t think there was much between the sides.

“Against Chester we’ve lost a game we certainly could’ve got something from.

“Of course it’s disappointing and it’s a bad start, I’m aware of that.

“I could have a go at the players for mistakes on Saturday.

“I don’t think we played too badly in the second-half on Tuesday.

“I thought we put enough pressure on their goal to get back into the game.

“But it’s about what you do in both penalty areas and we’ve been punished for mistakes at the back and we haven’t capitalised on chances we’ve had at the other end.”