FC Halifax Town v Gateshead: FA Trophy final is Shaymen's reward for keeping calm and carrying on with Chris Millington

WHEN October began with a 4-0 defeat at home to Woking, things were tough for FC Halifax Town.

Fourth in last season's Conference, a place above Notts County, they had just eight points from their opening 11 matches under Chris Millington, who stepped up from assistant to manager after the departure of Pete Wild.

Football clubs have panicked at less but Sunday's FA Trophy final against Gateshead at Wembley is the Shaymen's reward for keeping calm.

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"I was probably fortunate in that I knew everyone at the club having already been there three seasons," reflects Millington.

"They knew what challenges were going on behind the scenes so there was a level of understanding.

"There was also a desire that it came good. From my part, as much for the other people around the club as myself and on their part they were desperate for us as a football staff to succeed because there are those established relationships.

"There was a level of patience and to some degree an expectation it would come good.

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"It probably took a little longer than any of us expected or wanted but we got there in the end and a top-half finish in the league is a respectable finish and a Trophy final is a momentous occasion that can only be bettered by winning it.

PATIENCE: Halifax Town manager Chris MillingtonPATIENCE: Halifax Town manager Chris Millington
PATIENCE: Halifax Town manager Chris Millington

"We had a real difficult period losing a number of very important players who were out of contract and we sold a couple of players who would have been very important to us this season, then there was the business of trying to replace good footballers and good characters.

"Some of the players came in very late in pre-season right up towards the first game of the league season.

"It took us a good while to settle in and get going. Throughout the season there were some documented and not documented challenges and moments of adversity.

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"The important thing to learn from it is how we've approached everything in a really consistent manner, the processes we've got are really robust and they've eventually led to a level of success.

"Most importantly of all we've got a really fantastic squad of players who've proved they can handle the pressure and keep working to a plan."