Shaymen midfielder Summerfield optimistic about the season to come

Luke Summerfield says there is no reason why FC Halifax Town can't be challenging for promotion again this season.

By Tom Scargill
Monday, 25th July 2022, 4:51 pm
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 4:53 pm

The Shaymen have been beaten in the National League play-offs in two of the last three seasons.

It has been a summer of upheaval at The Shay, with manager Pete Wild, captain Niall Maher and top-scorer Billy Waters among those to depart, as well as first-team regulars Kieran Green, Tyrell Warren and Tom Bradbury.

But Summerfield is optimistic that Halifax can once again be in the mix for a long-awaited return to the Football League.

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Luke Summerfield. Photo: Marcus Branston

"There's no reason we can't match that or even go one better," he said of last season's top seven finish.

"We're here to be a successful football and club and the last few years, we've done that by getting in the play-offs.

"Hopefully this season it's no different. Last year was a successful one to get in the play-offs.

"When you get in them and don't go up obviously it's a disappointment but that's in the past now.

"We've got a new group, new manager, new staff and we know what we can do as a football club.

"There's no doubt we can better it this season."

Summerfield believes those in the Town squad who have stayed from last season will be better for the experience of what was an excellent campaign for the club.

"I think every year as a footballer, whatever happens in that year, whether you're successful, unsuccessful, game-time or no game-time, you're always going to learn, you're always going to take the positives and negatives," Summerfield said.

"Whether that's playing every game or being on the fringes but learning from a set of players and staff.

"The lads from last season will have learned what it takes to get to the play-offs and hopefully we can go better.

"The boys were magnificent last year, and we shouldn't take away how much of an achievement that was for them personally, and how well they played.

"The boys that have moved on have got some great moves, but the ones who've come in have showed good attitude and I'm sure Milly and the staff will get the best out of them."

Summerfield's season was disrupted by injury, but the 34-year-old again showed his worth when in the side, exhibiting his vision and awareness in midfield.

"It was a bit frustrating on a personal level last year, with getting in the team, getting injuries, coming out of the team and then trying to chase coming back for the play-offs," said Summerfield, who agreed a new one-year contract this summer.

"It was a frustrating end to the season for everybody at the club.

"But once the dust settled on the disappointment and the summer came it was an easy decision to get it sorted.

"With football, you never know what's round the corner and that just proved it over the summer, with the changes at the club.

"But as soon as me and the gaffer sat down and spoke it was an easy decision on a personal level and that was reciprocated from the club.

"Ever since the gaffer's come here he's been a breath of fresh air, he's helped me as a footballer and I'm sure he'll help numerous other players and will hopefully be a very successful manager for the club.

"Every manager wants people to play differently to (fit into) their style of play, I've adapted to different things and whatever's chucked at me this year in terms of different styles or Milly's thought-process of playing, I'm sure I'll learn from different ways of playing."

The appointment of Chris Millington to replace Wild has ensured as much continuity as possible for the club.

"We've got a great group here from last year, and it's looking like we've added really well," Summerfield said.

"Everything at this club is about having a great changing room, a great set of lads and all sticking together.

"That will be no different this year and that will help Milly and the staff bed in and have a successful season."

Summerfield is set to be the oldest member of the Town squad this season, but while he accepts his veteran status comes with responsibility to be a guiding hand to younger players, the midfielder is focusing primarily on his on-the-pitch duties.

"It was talked about briefly, but I'm here as a footballer first and foremost," he said.

"Obviously I've got age and games under my belt, and it'll be no different from any other year in that I'll come in and do things properly, and try to lead by example with what I do on and off the pitch, and hopefully the boys take notice not just of me but all the lads who were here last year.

"Everybody here works hard and hopefully we bring everyone together and it'll show on the pitch."

Summerfield may be about to embark on his 19th season as a professional, but his hunger and desire remain as strong as ever.

"Football's a strange old game, it's full of ups and downs, sometimes more downs than ups," he said.

"We've all wanted to do it since we were little kids and to have the pleasure and the honour to keep being a professional footballer is brilliant.

"We never take it for granted, we love what we do, we take it onto the pitch and we enjoy it, and we get to kick a ball around."