"There is definitely a level of consistency developing" - Town boss Millington on his team, scoring goals and Wealdstone

Chris Millington believes his side is developing more consistency in their performances ahead of their home double-header against Wealdstone and Fylde.
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The Shaymen lost their first league game since the end of September last Saturday as they were defeated 1-0 at Maidenhead United.

Performances have been better in recent weeks after a mixed bag earlier in the campaign, and Millington feels his team is heading in the right direction, despite last weekend's defeat.

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"If you go back to Woking away and right through to Saturday, although we're disappointed with the result and the goal we conceded, we're disappointed we didn't finish off some of the chances we created, there were a lot of positives in the overall performance and a lot of things we've seen get better over recent weeks," he said.

Actions from FC Halifax town v Southend at the Shay. Pictured is Chris MillingtonActions from FC Halifax town v Southend at the Shay. Pictured is Chris Millington
Actions from FC Halifax town v Southend at the Shay. Pictured is Chris Millington

"There is definitely a level of consistency developing. We want to be better, we want to get back to keeping clean sheets instead of conceding a goal a game and we want to continue to create and take chances.

"But everything that's happening outside of those few points, where we're really working to improve, I think have improved and are becoming more consistent.

"What we've got to remember is we've got a certain set of circumstances that mean we've got to be patient and persevere, and at times we're going to have to be pragmatic about certain results.

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"We are developing and getting better. Many of the stats from Saturday, although it was a defeat to a team who are at the wrong end of the table, were amongst the best we've had this season in terms of possession, number of passes, number of passes completed, shots.

"We're definitely becoming more of the team we want to be in terms of our possession play.

"There is development and we are moving forward.

"We know that the team will get better and stronger as we go on because we're getting more players back fit and they're a group of players who a lot are in a key stage of their professional development.

"We know that a good proportion of the squad will be far better in the latter stages than they are in the early stages.

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"So there's loads to be positive about and as a reminder to myself as much as anyone else, I have to be mindful not to get too down with defeats and not to carried away when we win."

Halifax's struggle to score goals reared its head again at Maidenhead, with The Shaymen drawing a blank in the league after a run of 11 goals in six league outings.

"We need more for sure, we want players to contribute more," Millington said.

"I won't identify individuals but we know we need more goals across the team - are forwards and midfielders weighing in, are our wing-backs getting into the box and threatening often enough?

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"There's any number of players and positions where we could be scoring more, so that's the focus.

"Everybody's got to contribute and hopefully, with the greater consistency of form and player selection, we'll also see a higher number of goals coming from our forwards.

"We'll keep working on it, we'll keep making sure we're trying everything we can to get better but I think we've got a fantastic group of players and that they're going to continue to improve as the season goes on."

And Millington says he retains faith in striker Aaron Cosgrave's ability to score goals at National League level after he drew another blank at Maidenhead.

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"Yeah I do. Aaron's a similar type of profile to a number of players that we've brought in, lads who need an opportunity at this level, who need time and support and will improve," Millington said.

"I think on Saturday, a lot of the other aspects of his game were the best he's played for us.

"I thought the way he retained possession against a physical pair of centre-backs, the way he linked and got us up the pitch was much more efficient than he's been in other games.

"Some of the runs he makes off-the-shoulder, which we're not finding by the way as well as we could, so fans might not be seeing that but he is making some good runs and we've not managed to find some of them, but he deserves credit for that.

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"If he was having chances put on a plate for him and he was missing them from five or six yards out then we might have more of a problem to deal with but at the moment, he's improving and getting better all the time and I'm sure he will score and hopefully he'll become prolific.

"But if he doesn't become prolific and he becomes a steady National League striker in terms of his goal return, that'll be good for us because it's not just goals that he offers us, he offers us athleticism, a threat in-behind, the improving ability to link play, a great honesty and work-rate out of possession to go and press teams high up the pitch.

"There's so much about his game that contributes and if he can weigh in with a reasonable amount of goals come the end of the season, then he'll have had a very successful season for us."

The Shaymen have won the next game immediately after a defeat ten times since Millington's appointment as manager, and will aim to do so again on Saturday.

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"I think we've shown that to some degree already this season, that ability to bounce back from adversity and get a positive result and a positive performance," he said.

"I think what's more on my mind is teams who come and play and want to have a go at us, we tend to perform very well against.

"When there's a certain type of opposition with an element of gamesmanship, playing for set-pieces, trying to buy cheap free-kicks, break the play up on a regular basis, don't allow the game to have any flow, we've got to find a way of imposing our style on those very bitty, broken up type of games.

"It's not easy, it's very difficult and it's not pretty. They're not the type of teams we'd ever want to be, but we do have to find a way to be more consistent against those types of opposition."

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Millington feels his team has been on the receiving end of more than their fair share of poor decisions from referees this season.

"I don't want this to come across like I'm moaning about officials, I'm just trying to give some context, but after every game we give our opinion of some of the refereeing decisions to the powers that be and we ask for clarification on some of the decisions that have been made," he said.

"There's going to be lots of decisions every game where we can disagree but what concerns us are the game-changers, the ones that can influence where the points end up.

"We've had what we believe was a certain penalty against Max Wright on Saturday at Maidenhead, we've had two decisions that were reviewed and found in our favour against Eastleigh that have cost us two goals - the penalty that never was and the foul on Milli Alli in the build-up to the second Eastleigh goal, which would have resulted ultimately in us winning that game, not losing it.

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"We've had decisions at Barnet where they could and should have had two red cards which would obviously have given us a real chance of going on to win the game.

"Then you've got Luke Summerfield being sent-off against Southend and that being overturned because it was a farcical decision.

"You can talk about the balance of decisions evening themselves out over the course of a season but these are significant decisions which affect where the points go."We are on the wrong end of too many of them.

"Referees have got to be strong and understand what teams are trying to do to influence the outcome of the game.

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"We're never going to be that type of team because mine and the staff's values won't allow us to be the type of team who play for fouls and set-pieces and try to talk opposition players into the book, that isn't going to be us.

"But we'll keep giving our feedback to the powers that be and hopefully the referees will learn and get better and it'll cost us less going forward."

When asked if he felt the next two games - both at home to teams lower than Town in the table - were winnable, Millington said: "Every game we see as winnable, we went to Chesterfield and felt disappointed we didn't win that game.

"Clearly anyone in the bottom half of the table, we're going to believe we should be winning it and we will approach it as if it was Chesterfield away, looking for every opportunity to maximise our opportunity to win the game.

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"Without a doubt, we go into Wealdstone looking to do everything we can to get three points.

"The positive thing is we've come out of Maidenhead without any new injuries and we're hoping to have players back in time for Saturday to make us even stronger."

Wealdstone, who lost 5-0 at The Shay last season, go into the game 12 in the National League, five points adrift of Halifax.

"They're not quite having the same season so far that they were last but they're a good team, they play a nice brand of football," Millington said.

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"If you let them play they can really hurt you. One of the goals they scored on Saturday really typifies Wealdstone at their best.

"Much the same as the other games - York City away, tough, Maidenhead away, tough, obviously for different reasons.

"But Wealdstone are a really good possession-based team and will present us with some real significant problems to solve but I think we've proved so far this season that we can compete with everybody and we haven't come up against anyone yet that I've felt, on our day, we couldn't beat."