FA Trophy: FC Halifax, Guiseley, York City and Harrogate Town all hit Wembley trail
The Shaymen host Macclesfield in the FA Trophy having recorded their first win in 13 matches with an impressive 1-0 victory at Aldershot last weekend.
National League leaders Macclesfield will provide another stern test but both clubs know what it takes to get to the final. Halifax won the competition in 2016, while Macclesfield lost to York at Wembley last season.
However, Heath and Carroll, who won the FA Trophy while in charge at North Ferriby in 2015, want Town to build on last week’s win. Heath described the shock success away to the Shots as a “massive boost.”
“We had not had a lot of luck before Aldershot, especially against Barrow and Eastleigh, but the players have been putting in a lot of effort and got their just rewards last Saturday,” said Heath.
Striker Tom Denton is available again after serving a one-match ban, while winger Josh Macdonald and striker Ben Tomlinson appear the most likely candidates from the long injury list to return to contention.
Guiseley have made two loan signings to bolster their injury-hit squad over the traditionally hectic festive season – starting with today’s trip to fellow National League side Gateshead.
Nottingham Forest youngster Adam Crookes and Oxford United striker James Roberts have both joined on month-long loan deals.
Crookes, who is able to play in defence or in midfield, featured regularly in Forest’s Under-23 side during the 2016-17 campaign, having progressed all the way through their Academy system.
Stoke Mandeville-born Roberts, started his career in the youth team at Wycombe Wanderers in 2012 before moving on to Oxford United. He has since had loan spells at Chester, Oxford City (twice), Barnet and Stalybridge.
Although avoiding relegation is the prmiary objective for manager Paul Cox and his team, they will looking for some kind of positive from today’s trip to the North East following last week’s 4-0 defeat in the league at Ebbsfleet.
A goal would also be nice for the Lions as they have now gone three games without finding the back of the net.
The management team of Billy Heath and Mark Carroll are keen for FC Halifax Town to get back into the winning habit.
Midfielders Sean McAllister and Alex Pattison could make their debuts for York City in today’s trip to Kidderminster Harriers
The Minstermen memorably won the Trophy at Wembley just seven months ago and have been boosted by the pair’s arrival on loan.
McAllister, 30, has come in from Grimsby Town, while 20-year-old Pattison, has joined on a one-month youth loan from Championship club Middlesbrough.
“Sean’s arrival improves competition for places,” said York manager Martin Gray. “It’s important that we bring in players with the right mentality, who are brave on the ball and can play under pressure.
“Alex has got a bit about him and, hopefully, he will give us that bit extra that we are looking for.”
Looking ahead to the Kidderminster encounter, Gray added: “It will be really tough, we know how good they are.
“We have got to go there and scrap and fight.”
Harrogate Town have been given a timely boost ahead of today’s tough trip to Wrexham after striker Joe Leesley confirmed he will be staying at the club.
National League North rivals Salford City tabled an undisclosed offer for the 23-year-old last week.
Yet Leesley, who has scored 13 goals, is staying put.
He said: “I signed a contract with Harrogate Town and I want to be respectful of the chance that they gave me and help them get promoted. The gaffer (Simon Weaver) and Paul Thirlwell have been very good to me.”