'Very underwhelming' - journalist assesses Halifax's season ahead of Chesterfield trip

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Chesterfield will be aiming to replicate their recent away form on home soil this Saturday when they take on FC Halifax Town.

The Spireites have won four of their last five on the road but have not won any of their last five at the Technique.

Halifax, meanwhile, are 16th and don’t look like being promoted or relegated but they are in the FA Trophy semi-final.

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We spoke to journalist Tom Scargill, who covers the Shaymen for the Halifax Courier, to get the lowdown on this weekend’s opponents...

Matt Warburton is one of Halifax's key players.Matt Warburton is one of Halifax's key players.
Matt Warburton is one of Halifax's key players.

How would you sum up Halifax's season?

Very underwhelming and not what the vast majority of fans would have envisaged. After finishing in the play-offs last season, the expectation was that Halifax would do so again but right from the start of the campaign, it just hasn't worked out that way. They started far too slowly and were bottom of the table at the start of October. Credit to Chris Millington, and chairman David Bosomworth for sticking with him, as he turned it round and led a revival that saw Town get within touching distance of the play-offs before Christmas. Since then there has been another sobering slump in form and now an encouraging green shoot or two of recovery. They are in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, which is great, but in the league, it's been very disappointing.

What's the aim between now and the end of the campaign?

It's got to be to get to Wembley in the FA Trophy. That would help add some sweetener to the sourness of the league campaign. As far as the league goes, even a top half finish might be too much to ask so it might be as simple as avoiding being dragged into a relegation scrap and just having a trouble-free end to the season and a chance to start again in the summer.

What's the feeling towards boss Chris Millington?

I think on the spectrum of Town fans, there would be more on the side of having run out of patience with him than those willing to give him another chance, certainly the more vocal supporters have let their feelings be known at the odd game since the turn of the year. I think he has a lot to prove to win back those fans who feel there should be a change.

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Has much changed in terms of playing style or personnel since the two teams last met?

The team won't be drastically different in terms of personnel. One change will be Bolton loanee Adam Senior, a defender, who has been superb and is one of the first names on the team-sheet. Attacking midfielder Milli Alli also didn't play against Chesterfield but I expect him to start. He's an exciting player with terrific skill, a real livewire who just needs to add consistency to his game. I don't think playing style will be too different, they'll defend when they have to, they'll work hard and when they attack, they'll try to do it quickly, perhaps from winning the ball high up the pitch or from a turnover of possession.

How will Halifax approach coming to Chesterfield?

I think they'll be sensible. I think they'll have probably looked at how other teams have gone there and taken points and perhaps imitate that to a degree. They've been excellent defensively of late so I can't see them abandoning their three at the back, it's more how they'll cause issues for Chesterfield going forward. Having beaten them at The Shay, I think they'll be quietly confident of getting something, but I think the message will be it has to be based on a solid foundation at the back first and foremost.

Who are the key men to watch out for?

Alli is capable of producing something from nothing - a shot from range or beating two or three players with a run. Matty Warburton scored last season at Chesterfield and scored only his second in an injury-hit season last Saturday, so if he starts, he could cause problems as he is hopefully back to something like full fitness now and able to produce something like his best.

Any injuries/suspensions?

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Liverpool loanee Fidel O'Rourke, a striker, is out with a hamstring injury and talented midfielder Kian Spence is also unavailable.

Likely line-up?

(3-4-3) Johnson; Debrah, A Senior, Stott; Golden, Summerfield, Gilmour, J Senior; Warburton, Dieseruvwe, Alli.