"I expect to see them come out with a point to prove," says Millington ahead of Town's home game with Kidderminster

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Chris Millington says the performance in Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Marine has to be as bad as it gets as they search for a cure to their home hoodoo.

The Shaymen were beaten by their lower-league visitors last weekend following a dreadful display that still leaves them with just one home win all season.

Town's away form has been the main reason why they are a point and a place outside the top-seven, but their performances and results at The Shay have largely been woeful.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Asked if he wants to see a response from his team at home to strugglers Kidderminster on Saturday, Millington told the Courier: "Yeah, we've got to see a response. There were too many players completely off-key on Saturday and as we always do, whenever we underperform, I expect to see them come out with a point to prove."

Chris MillingtonChris Millington
Chris Millington

Millington says he can understand the frustrations of the home fans, who were once again disgruntled after another home horror show.

"Absolutely, I get it," he said. "I'm equally as frustrated as the fans with our home form.

"We certainly don't set out to be beaten by Marine or any other team.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"So the performances and the results are very frustrating for staff, fans and the players because they don't want to be turning in those performances.

"It's frustrating all-round, probably even more so for the chairman, who's trying to manage a very tight budget and an FA Cup run would have been of great benefit to the coffers."

Millington says the performance against Marine has to be as bad as it gets at The Shay.

"That's been the message in training," he said. "That's as bad as we've been and that's as bad we can afford to be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Clearly, National League teams will punish us more than Marine did in that first-half so we can't allow those type of standards to become the norm.

"But I don't expect them to be.

"You look across the league and Hartlepool have gone out to lower-league opposition, Rochdale have gone out to lower-league opposition, Dorking have gone out to lower-league opposition, you've got Barnet who conceded a late equaliser to lower-league opposition who were down to nine-men.

"So we're not the only ones, and every season it's the same in the FA Cup. Teams go out to a lower-level opposition who they shouldn't really go out to and everyone's up in arms because it feels like the end of the world.

"It's very disappointing, it's very frustrating, it can't be accepted but we have to move on and focus on the positives now."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When asked whether Town's home troubles have now become a psychological problem for his squad, Millington said: "I wouldn't say psychological. I'd say there's an aspect of (it being about) mindset, recognising the fact that at home, we are under more scrutiny, the majority of our fans only see our home form and therefore they think our home form is the form, and that's clearly not the case.

"We're eighth in the league, one point off the play-offs. We've done it with loads of injuries, most of which are impact injuries, so things you can't account for.

"We've not had a settled front line, we've not had a settled midfield all season, we have had a settled back line and, hey presto, we're the second best defensive record in the league.

"So look what happens when you do manage to get settled players in positions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We've no concern over the bigger picture but clearly we want to improve the home form because that's when the majority of fans see us and they need to understand what this team's capable of but at the moment, they're not getting the opportunity to witness it."

On how the problem can be fixed, Millington said: "We go out with an even more positive mindset to go after teams and to impose ourselves on them.

"But also to recognise that things are going to go wrong within a game of football, the whole sport is around problem-solving because things don't ever go perfectly, in one straight line.

"There are ups and downs in every performance and it's how react to those ups and downs and those different challenges and making sure we react in an incredibly positive, front-footed type of way and show that psychology we have away from home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Away from home we were 2-0 down to Chesterfield after 20-odd minutes and we come back and arguably should have won the game.

"If that was at home, I'm not sure we'd have had the resilience in that moment to come back from what would have been a hostile reception.

"Away from home it's clearly easier to deal with those situations.

"They're the things we've got to focus on doing better."

Some of the Town fans lay the blame for the team's struggles at home at Millington's door.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When asked where the blame should be laid, the Town manager said: "There's no lack of effort on the part of the players, there's shortcomings and there's mistakes and there's poor performances, but there's no lack of effort.

"There's no change in approach from the staff, we work equally as hard to prepare for home games as away games, yet our away form is better.

"It's not a case of apportioning blame, it's a case of performing better across the board and that's what we've got to do."

Millington says no stone is being left unturned by the staff in search of an upturn in fortunes.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"When you're underperforming and when there's any common trait where the performances are falling short, you do analyse every aspect of it," he said.

"We've tweaked shape, we've put players in positions to give ourselves more attacking threat and more forward options.

"We've looked at that aspect of it and we go over every other aspect with a real fine toothcomb and we'll continue to do that.

"But we've got to help the lads get that confidence they've got away from home, where I guess there's less of a spotlight on them and they're to just go and play their game and implement the game-plan.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"At home they're under the microscope and every misplaced pass or mistake is picked up on and they've got to learn to deal with that because that ain't going to change."

But despite Halifax's home struggles, Millington says he wouldn't rather then next two games were away.

"No, absolutely not," he said. "We've got a job to do.

"There are certain benefits to us playing at The Shay, even in the current run of form.

"We recruited athletic players to be able to deal with the big, open spaces and we've got to give them the support to be able to do that."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On whether the game on Saturday was a must-win, Millington said: "We're eighth in the league, we're one point off the play-offs, we're in a really healthy position given some of the difficulties we've had to face with injuries and the disruption in team selection.

"It's a situation where we must improve, so we've got to perform better than we did against Marine.

"But I think what we've got to try and do is separate the Marine performance and result away from what we're doing in the league.

"A defeat in the FA Cup always feels like the end of the world, a defeat to a lower-league opposition feels like we're all failures.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"But in actual fact, the recent league form and the league position and the stage of the season we're at actually suggests there's an awful lot for us to be positive about.

"So we mustn't get caught up in feeling so negative over going out of the FA Cup."

When asked what his message to the Halifax fans was ahead of Town's home double-header, with Hartlepool the visitors on Tuesday, Millington said: "We just want to thank those fans who are getting behind the lads and for those who are finding it a challenge at the moment, to get behind the boys, to show a bit of understanding that they're a group who are facing some challenges at the moment from an injury perspective.

"But they're going out and giving everything at the moment to try and get us over the line at home and hopefully that'll be on Saturday."

Related topics: