FC Halifax Town: Striker Sho-Silva relishing his role as Shaymen’s leading man
It doesn’t look fun, but Tobi Sho-Silva brushes off any suggestion of bitterness at his treatment from National League centre-halves.
The Town striker has been a much-valued focal point for the team so far this season, leading the line with selfless running, tenacity and strength.
That has been in the face of repeated rough-housing from opposing defenders pushing and pulling him while contesting high balls, precious few of which result in Halifax free-kicks.
“Sometimes it is quite fun,” Sho-Silva says of his duels with opposing centre-backs.
“I know the value it has in terms of creating space for others to get involved, and us getting up the pitch.
“I do enjoy it. It does hurt sometimes, and sometimes when you don’t get a decision it’s a bit frustrating.
“But it’s all part of the game. It’s fun.
“You learn to take it in your stride and keep going. Obviously the refs aren’t perfect so they don’t get every decision correct.
“But when they don’t give it you’ve still got to play on. You’re there for the three points at the end of the day, and probably a 10-second decision hopefully doesn’t change that.”
Sho-Silva’s role has been more of a target man than an off-the-shoulder striker running in-behind defences.
“I feel like I can do both,” he says. “I do like to play with an intensity and aggression.
“I can stretch the play but I can also hold it up, which is something I’ve added to my game a lot more in the last couple of years, trying to be that number nine and that focal point of the attack.
“With the help of Milly (Chris Millington, assistant manager) and Pete, I’ve really grown into that role.
“They’ve helped me day in, day out to keep improving. I’m just here to work hard and give my best every day.
“In the last 12 months I hadn’t played as much as I wanted, but that’s football.
“When you do get the chance, you relish it and I’m really grateful for the opportunity Halifax have given me, playing week-in, week-out in-front of amazing fans and in a great squad.
“I’m going to keep building on the start I’ve had and hopefully keep winning games.”
Sho-Silva has been hugely encouraged by Halifax’s start to the season, which sees them top the National League after winning seven of their first nine matches.
“We’re building our identity as a team, and there’s unity all over the pitch.
“We go into every game hoping we’ll win, it’s been enjoyable and hopefully it has been for the fans as well.
“I’m enjoying my football, which is all I can ask for. I love playing in this team and under Pete.
“There’s a good feel around the camp. You want to go into training, you want to play matches.
“I feel I’ve settled in really well.”
Town have produced some thrilling attacking football at times, and Sho-Silva is excited to be part of whichever attacking players get the nod.
“I think the whole of the front four, whoever’s playing, have got a really good chemistry,” he says.
“We’ve got a lot of legs, we’ve got youth, excitement and trickery. We can really mix it up, either going in-behind or taking men on and putting crosses in the box and linking up in that final third.
“There’s always areas of improvement but it’s dangerous whenever the ball goes forward. It’s exciting for me as a centre-forward and hopefully it’s exciting for everyone else as well.
“When you’re in the final third it’s an opportunity to take risks and express yourself, so we encourage each other to go out and do what you feel the right thing is in the final third and no-one’s going to shout at you.
“Whether it’s trying to beat a man or take a shot, we’ll keep encouraging each other so we can get the best out of each other.
“We have that licence to be free.”
Sho-Silva is not getting too carried away by Town’s start though.
“We’ve just got to take every game as it comes,” he says.
“Hopefully later on in the season when people want to make judgments, we’ve picked up enough points for people to have a smile on their face.
“We work day in, day out and give 100 per cent on the training field and on a match day.
“I think we’ve got the character in the changing room to weather that when it comes.
“The manager’s really level-headed so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves at all.
“We’ve just got to prepare for battle every Saturday, sunshine or rain, go out there and give 100 per cent.
“If we do that, then more times than not, hopefully results go our way.”