Our away form has got to improve, says Town boss Millington ahead of Torquay trip

Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus BranstonChris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Chris Millington. Photo: Marcus Branston
Town boss Chris Millington has called on his side to start picking up more points on the road ahead of Saturday's visit to Torquay United.

The Shaymen are 14th in the National League, three points off the play-offs but with a game-in-hand over seventh-placed Eastleigh.

Town have picked up 23 points at home compared to nine away, and scored 15 league goals at home compared to nine away.

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Their trip to strugglers Torquay looks a promising place to start improving their away form, with The Gulls second-from-bottom in the table having won just four times in the league this season.

When asked if he felt the game was a must-win if Town have serious promotion ambitions, Millington said: "No, not really. What we need to do is try and win every game.

"The objective for us going into the second-half of the season is to try and maintain the level of performance we've given at home over recent weeks, which is something the players and the fans should be proud of, so we've got to maintain that and keep performing to a high level at home.

"But our away form has been patchy at best so that's got to improve, that's our objective.

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"Whether or not games are must-win I think is probably a question for someone else, but in our opinion we want to give a performance that's worthy of three points and we think if we do that often enough, we'll get three points more often than not."

Millington feels offering more of a goal threat is key to his side picking up more points away from home.

"We've got to create more chances," he said. "You look at the games like Yeovil away and Eastleigh away where we've clearly been the better team, we've controlled possession, limited the opposition to very few chances, if any.

"In one case it was a penalty and in the other it was a counter-attack off a penalty.

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"Then we controlled the rest of the games without really doing enough to win them.

"So we've got to carry more of a goal threat and do more to impose our style on oppositions away from home."

Midfielders Luke Summerfield and Kian Spence both missed Sunday's home draw against Altrincham, and are doubts for the trip to Torquay.

On whether Summerfield will be available, Millington said: "I hope so, I hope it clears up fairly quickly, but we prescribed him plenty of bed rest because I think that's the only way to get through this thing that's going round at the moment."

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And on Spence's availability, Millington said; "We don't know, we'll just have to see how Kian feels."

Defender Tom Clarke also missed Sunday's game but should be available.

"He's back from illness and has had two sessions, one if those was a very light match prep and one of them was a slightly heavier session," Millington said.

"He could have ben involved but we'd rather get him some more sessions under his belt before he's fully available."

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Centre-back Jamie Stott is a longer-term absentee though as he recovers from a fractured cheekbone.

"The surgeons have said six weeks from the date of the op, which was just before Christmas," Millington said.

"But that's before he can make full contact training so six to eight weeks realistically."

Defeat on Saturday, combined with other results going against them, could see Halifax drift further away from the top seven, but a win should see them move closer to the play-offs, with six of the eight teams above them involved in games against each other on Saturday.

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"I don't look at the table but people do tell me, and I believe if we'd won on Boxing Day we'd have been in the play-offs," Millington said.

"We are in touch with the play-offs, but what we've got to do is maintain our home form and improve our results away from home.

"So we've got to keep pushing for three points every time we play at home and when we go away from home, we've got to remain as secure as we have done at the back, but we've got to carry more of a goal threat to try and convert some of those results into wins."

On Saturday's opponents Torquay, who have won just twice in their last 18 league games, Millington said: "It's never an easy place to go Torquay, we go there wanting to win and we'll do everything we can to make sure we do that.

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"But we know it's a tough place to go and they're a team who are clearly fighting for their lives and managed by a very experienced manager, so it won't be an easy game.

"It may be one, similar to Sunday, where we have to graft and earn the result.

"But we go there with every intention of trying to win the game."

You can follow all the updates live from Plainmoor on Saturday afternoon on our live blog, plus there will be an on-the-whistle match report and post-match reaction from Town boss Millington on the Courier website.