Kelly remains defiant in face of mounting odds

FORTY-TWO days into the job and Darren Kelly could perhaps be forgiven for despairing at the size of his task.

Halifax boss Darren Kelly

FC Halifax Town are rock bottom of the National League and have lost five of six league games under the Irishman.

No less than 22 goals have been conceded during those half-dozen outings, which together with the three cup ties Kelly has overseen means he has seen the Shaymen’s defence breached a staggering 29 times.

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Precious few crumbs of comfort, therefore, for Kelly to cling to ahead of this weekend’s home clash against Braintree?

Not at all, it would seem, with the 36-year-old instead firmly believing that a dreadful season for Halifax is about to turn a corner.

“I detest negativity,” said Kelly, who succeeded Neil Aspin at the start of October with Town sitting second bottom on seven points from 13 games.

“When I came in on the Thursday, my first game on the Saturday was (a) 7-1 (loss at home) to Cheltenham. To be honest, it could have been more.

“Myself and Jim (Harvey, assistant) started working with the players and have been busy trying to change that mindset.

“The players have to believe. I can motivate them and say what I can about being positive. But, ultimately, it will be down to the players themselves and changing their mindset.

“They must believe in themselves and their team-mates. It will come. I do believe it is starting to show.”

Along with the mindset at The Shay, Kelly has been busy with personnel changes. Five loan signings were in the 18-man squad knocked out of the FA Cup by Wycombe Wanderers on Sunday along with Tommy Miller, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town midfielder.

Results, save for a spirited replay win in the FA Cup qualifying round at Guiseley, may be yet to show much sign of turning but Kelly believes the display in losing to Wycombe underlined just how much progress is being made.

“People who just saw that performance would wonder why we are where we are in the league,” he added.

“Our performance and a lot of our play didn’t warrant that. It was a harsh scoreline.

“I was proud of the players and there was a lot to take into next week’s game.”