"It must be a high-tempo, front foot approach" - Aldershot v FC Halifax Town: Opposition Focus

Mark Molesley. Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty ImagesMark Molesley. Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images
Mark Molesley. Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images
We spoke to Steve Gibbs, who has covered Aldershot across local and national media for over a decade, for an insight into FC Halifax Town's opponents on Saturday.

How has Aldershot's start to the season been?

Two impressive, hard-fought wins against Boreham Wood and Barnet but otherwise a lot of familiar questions and failings – and increasing disquiet amongst the fans. Before victory against Barnet, there was a lot of talk of supporter boycotts and protests against both Chairman Shahid Azeem and, to a lesser extent, manager Mark Molesley. Overall, performances haven’t earned the results they deserve but crucial moments in both penalty areas have gone against Aldershot through slack defending and failure to take chances. This pattern continued in Tuesday night’s defeat to Notts County, where they couldn’t capitalise upon a strong start and conceded two second-half goals.

What are the expectations among fans this season?

Initial expectations were that Molesley has built a stronger squad than last season – a squad which could make steady progress up the table and be more entertaining, particularly at the EBB Stadium. For many, though, that has rapidly changed to fears of another season of struggle and stagnation, and the continuation of an abject home record.

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What's the team's style of play, what can Halifax expect to come up against?

At their best, Aldershot play with pace and energy, a fast passing game which uses the flanks to good effect and utilises the power of Effiong down the middle. Most of the time, it still looks like a work in progress, with lots of promise but not quite bearing fruit. Central midfield has been an issue all summer but the loss of Jayden Harris to Carlisle and injury to Joe Partington had left it looking like the team’s major weakness. Tuesday night’s loan signing of highly-rated QPR youngster Faysal Bettache may help to address that issue.

Who will be your dangermen and why?

Inih Effiong is more than a handful up front, leads the attack superbly and already should have more goals to his name. Justin Amaluzor has made a dynamic start to the season, with pace, skill and finishing. Centre-back Tyler Cordner has impressed with his strength, solidity and composure in defence but also seems to be developing a taste for joining the attack.

How do you think they will approach Saturday's game?

Boosted by the confidence of victory against Barnet in their last home game, it must be a high-tempo, front foot approach from the first whistle. They will be wary of a Halifax side who have put their own, poor start behind them, but need to play for the win.


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Captain Joe Partington will miss the game after limping off against Bromley last month, and Josh McQuoid missed Tuesday’s match against Notts County with a knock.

Likely line-up and formation?

Molesley unexpectedly started the season with a 5-man defence – after playing a back four for all but about 20 minutes of pre-season – but has since reverted to a fluid 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 formation. Ashby-Hammond; Davies, Cordner, Phillips, Harfield; Klass, Bettache, Glover; Amaluzor, Effiong, Amartey.

What would a successful season be for the club

Avoiding another relegation battle, and building a stronger home record with more entertaining football. The pragmatism of last season, when Molesley was tasked with simply keeping the club in the National League, must be replaced by something more ambitious.