"I'm a completely different player" - Town midfielder Spence on his development, Millington and The Shaymen

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Kian Spence could be seen as the personification of the progress made by FC Halifax Town over the last couple of years.

Under the guidance of former manager Pete Wild and his successor Chris Millington, the talented young midfielder has flourished.

Spence's energy, commitment, technique, awareness and intelligence made him one of Town's standout players in a standout season, and has resulted in admiring glances from other clubs.

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"I've asked the people around me to just keep me out of it," Spence said on any possible interest from elsewhere.

Kian Spence. Photo: Marcus BranstonKian Spence. Photo: Marcus Branston
Kian Spence. Photo: Marcus Branston

"I want to focus on my football, focus on getting myself fit, getting myself right, getting my head right, and then if anything comes to me, we'll go from there."

On whether a potential move away had or would become a possible distraction, Spence said: "I think it's dangerous if you start thinking like that, it starts affecting your performances.

"If that is how you're thinking, you're not going to get what you want because I think it's going to affect your performances, because you're not focusing on your job, on what you're meant to do.

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"I think if that's what you want, you shouldn't be thinking about it."

As it stands, Spence is a Town player and preparing to play his part in the season ahead.

"This is a great place for me to be," he said.

"I played a lot of games last year and wherever I'm at, I want to be playing games, whether that's here or somewhere else.

"But if it's here I'm happy to play, happy to get as many minutes as I can under my belt and happy to push for promotion again, I'm more than happy to do that."

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Spence says having Millington replace Wild as Town boss over the summer made sense and ensures continuity for the club.

"It's been the best scenario for me and I think it's the best scenario for the team in terms of 'why change something that isn't broken?'," he said.

"He and the staff other than Pete have remained here, as have a lot of the players, so what better way to build on previous seasons than with Milly as the gaffer.

"From a personal point of view, he knows my game, he's brought me in, worked with me a lot, developed me a lot and I'm excited for him to do that even more for me to be even better this season."

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Spence says Millington has played a "massive" role in his development, right from the start of his time with Halifax.

"I went to a trial day just before Covid, and he was there taking the session, so thankfully he saw something in me then," Spence said.

"He's just constantly worked on that to develop me into the player I am now.

"From when I first signed to the position I'm in now, it's night and day.

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"I'm a completely different player, I'm a different person and he's a massive part in that, working with me every day on the training ground.

"And I'd say that for the other coaches as well - Pete, Milly and Sarg, everybody's helping me."

Spence was undoubtedly a star performer for Town last season, blossoming into a crucial part of the midfield engine room.

"I was delighted with last season, it was great not just for me but the whole team, the fans and the club to get to where we got to," he said.

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"Obviously it ended in disappointment, especially for me not being able to help the lads out, it was tough to watch.

"But hopefully we can replicate the highs of last season and push one step further."

When asked if he considered last season to be his breakthrough campaign as a player, Spence said: "I think you've got to, yeah. It's by far the most games I've played.

"As a midfielder, you're in the centre of the team, and if other people don't play well it makes it harder for you to play well, so just being involved in that, being involved in a winning team most weeks, a team doing well, it was just good for me mentally to experience that and see what the highs of football can be."

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And far from being daunted at trying to emulate last season or even go one stage further, Spence is relishing the challenge.

"If you think back to the season before last, we were in the play-offs pretty much the whole season and then I think we ended up tenth," he said.

"That was demoralising going into the next season after losing a bunch of key players as well, but look what happened.

"So if we do that again next season, we're finishing top of the league aren't we.

"We've kept a lot of players, we've brought some good lads in so hopefully we can push even further.

"So it's not daunting. It's exciting."