"He's one of the best people I've worked with" - Town defender Senior on Millington, The Shaymen and another promotion push

Defender Jack Senior believes the foundations are in place for Town to have another promotion push this season.

By Tom Scargill
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 9:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 9:09 am

The Shaymen finished in the top seven of the National League in two of the last three seasons, falling at the first hurdle both times in the play-offs to Boreham Wood and Chesterfield.

And Senior is optimistic about Halifax's chances of not only competing for another top seven position but of also going one better.

When asked whether he felt Town needed to change much after what was a successful season last time out, Senior said: "It depends how you want to look at it. Yes, last year was successful in terms of the football we set out to play, the exciting football we wanted to play.

Jack Senior. Photo: Marcus Branston

"We played attractive football, we had a great defensive record but the main thing was we got that bond between players and fans, that was massive, the attraction we were putting on to get the fans down to come and support us, which they did fantastically.

"You put the two together, fantastic home fans and the best home defensive record in the league if I'm not mistaken.

"But we're still in this division, so if you want to be picky, we didn't achieve anything.

"I think the foundations are definitely there to kick on, and go that one step better.

Jack Senior. Photo: Marcus Branston

"Each year, statistically, we've improved. My first year we just missed out on the play-offs, last season we got in the play-offs but didn't make it, so I think we've got the foundations in place to push for that step further."

As far as Senior is concerned, last season's disappointing climax against Chesterfield in the play-offs has been put behind him.

"Definitely on my behalf it's forgotten," he said.

"You can't dwell on the past, what's happened has happened. Yes, at the time it was disappointing, and it maybe felt we could have gone further than we did, but that's all behind us now.

"We can use that as motivation going into this season."

Halifax-born Senior is also bullish about The Shaymen having no reason to fear the division's big spenders, and feels Town can continue to punch above their financial weight.

"Going into this season, it was exactly the same last season with your Stockports, Wrexhams, Chesterfields, Notts Countys, there was that financial firepower behind them going into last season.

"We just took it one game at a time and we were more often than not up there as the season was progressing.

"If we stick together like we did last year, and the lads coming in understand how we operate on and off the pitch, then there's no reason to be apprehensive about other teams around us.

"If we stick to what we know we're good at and how Halifax Town are as a club and as a group of players and staff, then there's no reason why the same can't happen again, if not better."

Senior will also hope to replicate his individual contribution to last season, in which he was the club's first-choice left-back and produced a consistently good level of performance.

"I look at the season as a positive for me individually in terms of the amount of games played, I thought the performances were more positive than negative, not in every instance, but more often than not, and just the rhythm I got myself into in the first-half of the season," he reflected.

"I think the second-half of the season was a little bit stop-start compared to the first-half. I got the virus at the turn of the year and then got suspended, and then got an injury, so it didn't flow as well as I'd have liked the second-half of the season.

"But I think it was a positive one for me overall."

Senior agreed a new deal in the summer that kept him at the club for a third season.

"You can never say never, but for me, the way last season went in terms of the group of players we had, the staff we had and managing to keep the main core of that, that was the main thing.

"I was just looking forward to getting back and going again."

The defender reckons Town under Chris Millington won't look too different to how they played under Pete Wild.

"I don't think it'll be too dissimilar," he said. "He might look to put his own tweaks on it but I think it'll be a very astute squad, tactically aware, based on the amount of detail Milly had last year in how to combat a team and how to beat a team.

"So I think it'll be a very tactically aware starting 11 each game.

"In possession it'll be a team full of players comfortable on the ball who work their way through the thirds and play exciting football."

Senior is delighted that Millington has taken the reins after Wild's departure to Barrow.

"Pete and Milly gave me my chance to get back into full-time football, so I'll always be very grateful to them for that," he said.

"They've helped me get back on track in terms of playing and where I want to be.

"For Pete to then move on, I think the next best thing I could have asked for for myself was Milly taking over, and I'm so pleased that's been the case.

"I'm pleased for him just as much because he was a pivotal part of us last season doing what we did.

"It's going to be exciting for him, for me and for us all as a collective this season."

And the left-back says it's pretty much business as usual.

"There isn't serious changes in terms of how Milly's going about the transition, he's very vocal in training, in the meetings, he sets his standards early doors," Senior said.

"He was setting those standards as the assistant last year and it doesn't seem like too much has changed.

"That just shows what kind of person he is, he was very hands-on last year as assistant and it seems to be same again as the gaffer."

This will be Senior's third season working under Millington, and the defender has huge respect for the manager and the man.

"The main think I'd say in the work environment is the attention to detail he has, in terms of how he wants things run on and off the pitch, the standards he sets for us to maintain, every day in training, every day in the gym, but also the standards he sets people as humans in terms of, for example, leaving things as you found it, being respectful to people at other stadiums and that kind of thing," Senior said.

"The approach he has to football is one that really excites me.

"As a human he's a fantastic person to go to if you're ever in need of any advice, on and off the pitch.

"I'd say he's one of the best people I've worked with.

"Since I've come in, the first thing I noticed was how positive he was with me, in giving me the advice to go and do things that have come into my game last season.

"He's just constantly positive. The difference I think for me when I first came back into full-time football, there was the thinking that 'am I still able to be part of this after being out of football for a little while' and he just instilled confidence in me straight away.

"He said 'look, you don't even need to have that worry, you're more than capable of playing at this level' and I think that's been massive for me.

"He's helped me massively on the pitch in terms of positional sense, reading the game, just adding to the qualities I have but seeing them from a different point of view.

"Just the little five or ten per centers you need as a player to improve your game, he's been there with me every step of the way, putting work in with me after training, off the pitch, doing analysis of my game, doing extras, just taking the time to help me in every way, shape and form."