"They will see this as a winnable game" - FC Halifax Town v Gateshead: Opposition Focus
How has Gateshead's start to the season been?
Performances have been better than results would suggest. They drew the opening three games then lost the next three, but were in all three games. Late goals denied them victory against both Notts County and Dagenham & Redbridge. A win was coming and they got it in their last outing, 4-1 at home to fellow new boys Maidstone, who were fortunate not to suffer a heavier defeat.
What are the expectations among fans this season?
The loss of leading scorers Macaulay Langstaff and Cedwyn Scott to Notts County in the summer tempered the fans' expectations for the new season. The pair scored 58 goals between them last season. Most fans remain optimistic that the side can at least hold their own in at the top level, particularly when the injury situation eases.
What's the team's style of play, what can Halifax expect to come up against?
The style of play, which brought 116 goals last season, has nor altered a great deal. Emphasis is on attack rather than defence, hence no clean sheet yet this season, though they gave been close to a shut-out in a couple of occasions. There are a lot of attacking players in the side and there will be at least two up top with flair players Greg Olley and Adam Campbell pulling the offensive strings. There is pace in the final third and in some games they gave created a host of goalscoring opportunities.
Who will be your dangermen and why?
There are numerous danger men in the Heed ranks. Pacy frontman Paul Blackett and Adam Campbell both have four goals and are an obvious goalscoring threat. Captain Gregg Olley is hugely influential and no one had more assists in the top six divisions of English football last season. His ability to open up defences, along with Campbell, have been key to Gateshead's attacking intent.
How do you think they will approach Tuesday's game?
The approach to the game at The Shay will be the same as usual for Gateshead. They will see this as a winnable game and will look to be on the front foot. They will look to keep it tight at the back and a clean sheet us overdue, but their intention will be to take the game to the Shaymen. They are better going forward than sitting back and soaking up pressure, though if they gave to, they can counter very quickly. They will play out from the back and attempt to play through the lines and are renowned for their good football.
National League North champions Gateshead have suffered badly from injuries since promotion and while it has eased slightly a number of players will miss out on Tuesday, including former Town loanee Aaron Martin. The experienced striker is recovering from a hamstring problem. Other summer signings, forward Lewis Knight and schemer Dan Jarvis also miss out, though Jarvis recently returned to training. Former Hartlepool and Sunderland defender Kenton Richardson is unlikely to feature due to an angle problem. Central defender Louis Storey returns from a one-match ban and Stockport left-back Ethan Pye from concussion protocols.
Likely line-up and formation?
4-3-1-2 – Langley; Tinkler, Magnay, Storey, Gallacher; Bailey, Olley, Ward; Campbell; Blackett, Harris.
What would a successful season be for the club?
A successful first season back in non-league's top division would be a top half finish. Gateshead will believe they are capable of achieving that and do not envisage being embroiled in a relegation battle.