FC Halifax Town v Maidenhead United: Solid foundations enable Shaymen to look forward with confidence

Halifax Town manager Pete Wild says Maidenhead United will see a much better and meaner version of his team today than when they met on the season’s opening weekend.

Despite taking the lead, the Shaymen lost 2-1 in August, so revenge is just one of their incentives in today’s FA Cup tie.

Maidenhead have only won three of 12 Conference games since – none away from home – whereas Halifax are now fifth, only three points behind leaders Boreham Wood. The key, says Wild, has been defensive solidity.

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“It gives us a lot of clues as to how they’re going to play but we were undercooked back then,” says Wild of the previous meeting. “We’ve got a very different picture of ourselves now. The team’s in its stride, although things can always come out of the blue.

“I’ve been really happy with our start to the season – one loss in 12 and eight clean sheets in the last 10 games (excluding the West Riding Cup).

“They’ve really stuck at it.”

On his side’s miserly defensive record, he adds: “It’s certainly something as a team we needed to get better at. We said to them yesterday morning it’s something the whole team’s doing well at the moment and having that foundation allows us to take calculated risks higher up the field.

“We’ve got pride in not letting anyone come to our place and win. That’s massive.”

CONFIDENT: FC Halifax Town boss, Pete Wild (left). Picture Bruce Rollinson

FA Cup first-round winners pick up £22,629 this weekend –one more reason to take the game seriously.

“Success in the FA Cup is two-fold: the fans want to do well and they want a glamour tie against one of the big clubs, and from the other side of things it can mean massive revenue for the football club.

“For me it’s the only cup competition in the world people take seriously. In most countries it’s just about the league but here everybody pays the FA Cup the respect it deserves.

“It doesn’t matter what team you are playing, everybody just wants to be watching the draw for the next round on Monday (after ITV’s Dagenham and Redbridge versus Salford City coverage) in the hat.

“We won’t be getting ahead of ourselves thinking about the next round, though. We have a mantra of taking each game as it comes but we want to get the job done and get the tie wrapped up today so the lads can save their legs for the games to come.”

Halifax’s only injury is to forward Jamie Allen, out for three weeks with an ankle problem.