"We've finally found an identity" - Jesse Debrah on Town's poor start, the team's recent form and his future

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Jesse Debrah believes The Shaymen have finally found their identity under Chris Millington.

The Shaymen appear to have turned a corner in recent weeks, following a poor start to the season, with a series of improved performances.

Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat at Wrexham brought Town's best run of form of the season so far to an end, which had seen them win three of their previous four games, keeping three clean sheets and rising to 17th in the National League.

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Debrah says Town have given a much better indication of what they're about over the last few games than they had previously.

Jesse Debrah about to do his fist-pump celebration after Town's win over Gateshead at The Shay. Photo: Marcus BranstonJesse Debrah about to do his fist-pump celebration after Town's win over Gateshead at The Shay. Photo: Marcus Branston
Jesse Debrah about to do his fist-pump celebration after Town's win over Gateshead at The Shay. Photo: Marcus Branston

"You can see that in the results, three wins and one draw, only one goal conceded," he said.

"We were playing some good stuff and showing some resilience, especially on Saturday.

"And you saw it in spells on Tuesday, that isn't an easy place to go to and I think it was 1-1 by the 80th minute.

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"It hurts a lot and I feel we could have done more to get something out of it in the end, but that's football."

Debrah feels there has been more energy and application from The Shaymen in recent weeks.

"I feel like we're running more than the opposition, we're willing to fight more and earn the right," he said.

"We're more solid at the back I believe, and that's credit to Sam Johnson, the back four and the whole team really.

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"I feel like we can take positives from Tuesday going into another tasty game on Saturday, which we'll go into with full confidence."

Reflecting on Halifax's start to the campaign, which saw them win only two of their first 11 league games, Debrah said: "I think it's always hard when so many key players leave.

"It can be hard to adjust to a new team, new environment, because we did have a lot of new players.

"There was a change of management, so we're learning new systems, different tactics from last season.

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"However, I feel we have found a good run of form, we've finally found an identity within the group.

"Although we did lose 3-1 at Wrexham, there were things we can be proud of in the performance."

On what he feels Town's identity is, the centre-back said: "When we're at our best we play high energy, on the front foot, winning the ball high up the pitch, being solid defensively, playing some good stuff, creating good chances on the counter-attack and in possession, controlling games.

"That's when we know we're at our best, especially defensively when we keep the back door shut for long periods, then we always give ourselves a chance of winning the game."

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There were periods of that in Halifax's 3-1 defeat at Wrexham on Tuesday, especially in an impressive first-half which saw The Shaymen lead 1-0 before the hosts' comeback.

"It was very tough to take, we started well and were the better side for the first 15, 20 minutes, and got our reward through the goal," Debrah said.

"We changed after the goal, we started defending quite a lot, but although they did put us under a lot of pressure, we defended well.

"We were good out of possession in the first-half and deserving of the 1-0 lead.

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"Second-half they came out and put us under a lot of pressure, credit to them.

"We have to do better to soak up the pressure and get hold of the ball more, not jus defend all the time.

"But credit to them, there's a reason why they are where they are in the table, they showed resilience to come back.

"But I believe there were positives to take from our performance, but at the end of the day, we lost and we have to respond on Saturday in a big game."

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Debrah didn't go as far to say The Shaymen have now turned a corner, but says there has been an improvement on the pitch.

"It's hard to say if you ever turn a corner because you can lose any game at any time in this league," he said.

"I'd say we are better and I feel like you saw that throughout the first-half (at Wrexham).

"This isn't an easy place to go to, they've won all their home games but I feel like in the first-half we did show what we can do and we were deserving of the lead.

"But second-half we just defended a bit too much.

"But we'll look back on it and dust ourselves down."

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Debrah is in his second season at The Shay, something which was far from certain would happen after being repeatedly linked to a move to Huddersfield Town during the summer.

"It's always a difficult time in the summer with people leaving," he said.

"Ultimately I've just got to focus on being at Halifax.

"I love it here, the team and the fans have welcomed me in, so I am grateful to Halifax and I feel like all I can do is just give 100 per cent when I'm called on to play, and that's what I feel like I'm doing."

The 21-year-old's development has come at a rapid pace since making his Town debut at the start of last season.

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"I think you saw last season, especially when I started, I didn't play as many games because Niall (Maher) and Tom (Bradbury) were playing because they're very good players," he said. "I was learning a lot from them.

"I started playing more after the turn of the year and I believe that learning what I learned then helped me after the turn of the year to produce a good run of form towards the end of the season.

"I'm grateful for that. I always want to learn, I always want to develop and be the best version of myself.

"I have to give credit to the former gaffer and the current gaffer, all the coaching staff and my team for helping me develop."

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On a possible move into the Football League in future, Debrah said: "It's always been my dream to play higher, since I was a little kid, play as high as I can.

"You watch the Championship, Premier League, Champions League and you think 'why can't I do that?'.

"It's always been an ambition of mine, but I need to take it one game at a time and one day at a time.

"If I just focus on that (playing higher) and miss the blessings of being at Halifax, being here, developing, playing in-front of crowds like Tuesday night - I need to enjoy the moment and not focus too much on the destination but enjoy the journey.

"That's the mentality my dad has instilled in me."

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For now, Debrah is forming a solid partnership at centre-back with Festus Arthur as part of a settled back four.

"I want to give credit to Jack Senior, Tylor (Golden), Festus (Arthur) and Jonno (Sam Johnson) because they're all good players," he said.

"I wouldn't say we've turned a corner but I feel like we are in a better run of form, defensively more solid, one goal conceded in the last four games prior to Tuesday night.

"They're very good players that help me play my game as well.

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"Although we were under immense pressure and we did concede three goals at Wrexham, there was a lot of good defending in the box.

"It's not just the defence though, it's the whole team, because you defend as a team and attack as a team.

"And credit to the coaches as well for getting us right tactically."

Town will hope to continue their recent upward trajectory when they host Oldham Athletic in-front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday.

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"Wrexham's a hard place to come to, I think they've averaged 4.5 goals per game at home," he said.

"We could do better in moments and do better with the goals.

"But I feel like you're seeing it in the results, beating York, being solid and showing some good football, creating chances.

"You saw the same against Dagenham, we created good chances.

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"St Ives in the cup, we did our business there and got through to the next round.

"On Tuesday, there were good moments and passages of play but we know we need to be better, especially if we want to be where Wrexham are in the table."

On what he feels is still achievable for Town this season, Debrah said: "I believe anything's possible, I don't want to rule us out of anything.

"All we can do is put one foot in-front of the other, take it game-by-game.

"It's key having the fans behind us too.

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"I believe anything's possible, all we need to do is just focus on the next game and not think too far ahead.

"If we focus on the next game and do well, slowly but surely we'll climb the table."

If Town do get some more victories under their belt soon, it will see Debrah continue what has become a post-win ritual of fist-pumping in-front of the Halifax fans, something he has taken over from former manager Pete Wild.

"It was the gaffer that told me to do it away to Scunthorpe and when I looked at him I just thought 'yes, I would love to do this!'," he said.

"I love the fans, they've welcomed me in and the more I do that the more we're going to climb the table so it's a win-win for both parties.

"I'd love to do it more. Every week."