Town director not looking too far ahead as FA Cup replay looms

Bobby Ham (left) and Neil Ross at The Shay Stadium
Bobby Ham (left) and Neil Ross at The Shay Stadium

FC Halifax Town director Bobby Ham insists the club’s focus is on tonight’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay rather than a possible money-spinning derby with Bradford City.

Last night’s first-round draw paired the Bantams with the winners of the replay between the Shaymen and Conference North side Chorley.

If Halifax can get through, The Shay is likely to be packed to capacity for a derby that would also surely be on the radar of either the BBC or BT Sport for live broadcast. Last season, clubs shown live in the first round received a £67,500 fee.

Ham, who had two spells with City in his playing career and also helped bring the club out of administration in 2004, said: “What a terrific incentive for both teams going into the replay.

“From a Halifax Town perspective, it would represent the dream tie. I would expect a full house if we were to play Bradford in the first round.

“On a personal level, it would also be very special for me as I had some good times at Bradford City.

“As exciting as the prospect of hosting Bradford is, though, we have got a replay to deal with. If we are not 100 per cent focused, we won’t get through. That is how football is.

“Saturday’s game was very even. Neither side deserved to win and neither side deserved to lose. So, we try again and we have to hope we can make home advantage pay.

“Football has a habit of kicking you in the teeth when you don’t expect it and we have to guard against that. The focus has to be entirely on Chorley and anything else can wait.

“The prospect of facing Bradford is a big incentive but it will be the same for Chorley. I am sure they would love to play Bradford just as much as us.”

For Bantams manager Phil Parkinson, the first-round draw means he will either face a derby on the weekend of November 7-9 or his hometown club.

He will be at The Shay tonight and said: “I was born in Chorley but we moved when I was three or four years old.

“But whether it is Chorley or Halifax, the draw is an intriguing one.

“Halifax couldn’t be much more local so, either way, it is going to be exciting to go to a non-League club in the first round.

“Regardless of who we play, it is going to provide a big challenge. We have been the underdogs plenty of times in the Cups in recent years, but the boot will be on the other foot with this tie.

“We will be ready to take on that challenge, though before that we do have a big league game to focus on. We can turn our attention to the Cup after that.”