FC Halifax Town: Fullarton expecting another tight game against title-chasing Solihull
Boss Jamie Fullarton is anticipating another tight game when his Town side take-on title-chasers Solihull Moors at The Shay tomorrow (3.0).
It will be the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with a 0-0 draw at Solihull in October followed by a 2-2 draw at The Shay in the FA Trophy in January, and a 1-0 win for Solihull in the replay.
Leyton Orient are only keeping Solihull off top-spot in the National League on goal difference, but have a game-in-hand over tomorrow’s visitors.
“It’s an unusual scenario being the fourth game against them of the season, and it’ll be the fifth time I’ve faced them as Halifax manager,” Fullarton said.
“All four were close, tight affairs and I don’t see it being any different.”
Halifax go into the game with the best home defensive record in the league, having shipped only nine goals in 18 home league outings.
Solihull’s four main strikers, meanwhile, have scored 38 league goals between them.
“So it’s a definite 0-0 isn’t it!” joked Fullarton. “Or is it going to be a 4-4!
“We’re looking to continue how we are defensively, because we’ll have to.
“The investment of time and energy and finance there (Solihull), on and off the pitch, means they’re making great strides.
“They have options in those front areas, and they have six strikers from which they can pick any three.
“Tim (Flowers, Solihull manager) has had a headache no doubt on who to pick when, and it’s bore fruit for them due to how many goals they’ve scored.
“They’ve got momentum, but there’s not been much between us when we’ve played them, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Fullarton isn’t expecting Solihull’s title challenge to alter their attitude, and credits them as being hard-working and difficult to play against each time he has faced them.
“We’ve played them three times this season already, and every game Solihull have approached in that way.
“I don’t see there being a difference in their approach. I don’t see there’ll be an increase in their level of motivation. I think they’ve demonstrated that in every game we’ve played them.
“It’s always been difficult, well-fought, tight with both teams going for it.
“Tim has said before that they ‘go for it’, and I’ve found that in all our games with them.
“We look at what we expect from our players, and every week you have to match the opposition, whether it’s Dover fighting-relegation, Barnet needing to win games-in-hand, Havant and Waterlooville fighting-relegation or Salford going for the title.
“You’ve got to make sure you match that, and I don’t think there’s any doubt with the squad we have that they’ve shown they are that way inclined.
“They’ll be looking forward to it. Solihull are where they are on merit.
“It’s another test, another challenge for us at home to win three points and perform to a level that the fans enjoy watching.”
Solihull are up against more established clubs in the National League title-race, such as Leyton Orient and Wrexham, and Fullarton thinks the Moors’ success has gone under the radar.
“I would say there’s probably been less exposure on Solihull than what they deserve within our league.
“There’s some clubs with Conference history and tradition pushing for promotion, Solihull have probably gone under the radar more than they should have.
“I don’t think they’ve had the credit they deserve. There’s a lot going on at the club behind the scenes to build a platform, and they’ve combined it with results and performances.”
Fullarton said defender Ryan Sellers wouldn’t be available this week and is awaiting clarification as to the extent of his knee injury.
On the condition of the Shay pitch ahead of three consecutive home games - with the rearranged Ebbsfleet match to follow on Tuesday (7.45pm) - Fullarton said: “It’s about your mentality towards it, and managing the game.
“That’s not an element that takes the ball somewhere different.
“It’s the same pitch we’re playing on, whether it’s August or March.
“So we’re looking forward to playing at home, that’s the main aspect, and we’re looking to perform in a way that gives us the best chance of winning the game, and hopefully send supporters home happy.
“Having had two long trips last week, we’re delighted, as always, to play at home.
“Our home record in certain aspects has been strong throughout the season, and playing in-front of your home support, that’s what players want to do.”