"I'm hungry to stay in the team" - Town defender Stott determined to keep his place after patience pays off

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Like his team, Jamie Stott's season didn't exactly get off to the best of starts.

The Town defender was sent-off on his debut in the opening day defeat at Barnet, and has found first-team opportunities limited since then.

The centre-back started three games in a row when Halifax picked up seven points from a possible nine starting at Scunthorpe at the end of August, but was back on the sidelines following the 5-1 thrashing at Aldershot on September 17.

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It was a long wait for the 24-year-old to get back in the side, but injuries to Jesse Debrah and Festus Arthur have seen him get another chance, the latest of which saw Stott perform superbly in The Shaymen's 1-0 win at Solihull on Tuesday night.

Jamie Stott. Photo: Marcus BranstonJamie Stott. Photo: Marcus Branston
Jamie Stott. Photo: Marcus Branston

"I had a very good pre-season and then the first game obviously got sent-off," he said.

"I bided my time to get back in the team, did so, picked up some good results - won at Scunthorpe, drew at Maidenhead and then beat Gateshead - and then there was the defeat at Aldershot, which wasn't good enough as a team.

"Unfortunately I came out of the team, worked hard to get back in, but the lads at the back have done well, kept clean sheets, got results, so I've bided my time and waited for my chance.

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"I spoke to the gaffer while I wasn't in the team and he made me aware that I've just got to be patient and keep working hard, which is what I did.

"I think I've had reasonably good games (since coming back in). Saturday wasn't a great result, but I think we made up for that on Tuesday as a team."

Stott admitted his lengthy recent spell out of the team was frustrating, but he says he was ready for when his opportunity arose.

"When you're sitting in the stand it hurts, but you've got to keep the hunger and when you go into training every day, you've got to stay on top of yourself and train really hard," he said.

"When you get your chance you have to be ready.

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"Saturday I played in the middle of a three, Tuesday I was on the left side and I thought we were very solid.

"We were solid in ways on Saturday but the two goals were sloppy (to concede).

"Tuesday was very convincing and we need to take that into Saturday, but on a personal note I'm just happy to be on the pitch.

"I've waited and bided my time and worked hard.

"I feel like I've deserved the opportunity, even though Jesse and Festus have been injured. I'm buzzing to be back in the team."

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Stott feels there are signs that Town are starting to produce more consistency than earlier in the season.

"If you want to be a team that's going to be high up in the league, the main word is consistency, and results like Tuesday, we have to do that on a consistent basis," he said.

"We won at Scunthorpe and St Ives, but apart from that we haven't won away.

"Away form is crucial, I know we've been good at home recently, but you need to back that up with away performances.

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"We drew at Maidenhead, didn't play great, drew at Maidstone, so we're getting points but if we can turn them into wins it stands you in great stead going forward.

"Consistency and everyone doing their job, working as a team, I feel we had that on Tuesday.

"If we back that up on Saturday, that's massive going into a busy period, and an important period.

"We're seven points off the play-offs now, and you can easily be in and around that by Christmas.

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"You don't want to look at the table too much though, it just need to be heads down, take it game-by-game, don't over-celebrate a win, go onto the next one, keep going, keep a good mindset going into every game.

"Every man in the squad has been brilliant, whether they're in the team or not, because there's lads who aren't playing or are injured, but everyone's contributing at the moment.

"I know that because I've not been in the team and I've been trying to contribute, whether it's been giving advice to Festus and Jesse, who are younger than myself.

"Everyone contributes, we've got a healthy squad and once everyone's fit it's going to be very important we keep everyone fit.

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"Everyone's going to get their chance over this next busy period so if everyone's at it, that can only raise performances and results hopefully."

The former Stockport and Oldham defender feels The Shaymen are a different team now to the one that floundered through the opening weeks of the campaign.

"Obviously we were a newly-knitted squad, a lot of new players came in and the club had done really well last year," he said.

"We lost a lot of core players, and us new players who came in, we're working hard to buy into what Halifax is.

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"I think that's coming and that's showing recently. A few of the new lads haven't been in the team lately but the younger lads that are coming through have done really well and are bringing lots of energy and drive, which is important."

And Stott is determined to keep hold of the place he has waited patiently to acquire.

"That's what my aim was once I got back in the team, I worked hard in training to stay fit and stay away from injuries, for when you get your chance," he said.

"I feel like I've done well and I'm hungry to stay in the team.

"I want to keep my shirt."

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Tuesday's win at Solihull has opened up a six-point cushion between Town and the relegation zone, and has put the top seven only seven points away.

"The end goal is play-offs, you want to finish as high up the table as you can," said Stott.

"The position we're in at the minute, you need to set small targets.

"In the last five games we've got ten points I think, so moving forward you want to try and continue that and build your way up the table.

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"After the start we've had people have probably forgotten about us, which might go in our favour.

"If we keep getting points here and there and keep creeping up the table, we'll see in the later stages of the season where we are."

Up next for Town is another away day, at Bromley on Saturday, which Stott says The Shaymen will go into with greater confidence after their midweek win at Solihull.

"We won comfortably really, they've not really had a shot on target," he said.

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"They've put more balls in the box than we'd have liked but I think the defence did really well, Jonno (Sam Johnson) came and caught or parried everything away.

"You've got to take massive confidence from it.

"It's probably going to be a different test on Saturday, might be more direct, but I think we dealt with a lot of direct balls on Tuesday as well.

"But if we pick up a result on Saturday then we have Boreham Wood back in-front of our home fans.

"We need to fully focus on Saturday, get three points, if not you don't lose, and that keeps the confidence going.

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"We'll see where we are come the new year, there's seven games before the end of the year, which is an important time for us as a club and a team.

"But it's an exciting time, we'll keep going game-by-game and we'll see where we end up."

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