Not unlike their hosts this weekend, FC Halifax Town (kick-off 5,15pm) are starting the new season with a very different looking squad to the one which finished the last campaign.
The West Yorkshire side have lost a number of players not least top scorer Jake Hyde, who has joined the Wrexham Hollywood revolution, Player of the Season full-back Jeff King who has joined fellow big-spenders Chesterfield, and midfielder Jack Ering who made the move in to the Football League at Walsall.
But, on early season form, manager Pete Wild has done a good job of searching out replacements with ex-Cheltenham Town and Torquay United frontman Billy Waters in menacing form with three goals in his first three fixtures, and ex-Glover Matt Warburton in decent form heading in to the weekend.
After a disappointing opening day defeat at the hands of Maidenhead United, the Shaymen have picked up a 3-2 win on the road at Woking followed by a 2-0 home win over Altrincham over the Bank Holiday weekend and will arrive in South Somerset in confident mood.
FROM THE MANAGER
FC Halifax Town manager Pete Wild has said he expects his side to come up against a “big, strong, aggressive” opponent in Yeovil Town when they face them on BT Sport on Saturday evening.
Speaking to the Halifax Courier about the Glovers, he said: “You know what you’re getting, you know what’s coming, they’re going to be big, strong, aggressive, they’re going to try and bully us, they’ll think they can bully us.
“Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got some really good footballers as well, but I’m sure their aim will be to bully us on Saturday.”
When asked how his side can counteract that, Wild added: “Just more of the same, we don’t have to get into a fight, we ain’t got a team to fight, we’ve got a team to play football, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.
“One of our core values is tactical awareness, which is about our style of play, not the opposition’s.
“You’re always working on style of play, there’s always areas you need to be better in your style of play.
“Sometimes we need to be better defensively, sometimes we need to be better offensively, you’ve just got to keep working away at it. If you think you’ve cracked it you’re knackered.”
Having lost some big earners in last season’s top scorer Jake Hyde and Player of the Season Jeff King, the visitors to Huish Park this weekend have invested in deepening their squad.
This meant boss Pete Wild had the luxury of not having striker Gerry McDonagh and defender Javid Swaby-Neavin involved over the Bank Holiday weekend when they picked up a win on the road at Woking and a home win over Altrincham.
Winger Dom Tear will miss the fixture with an ankle injury, but otherwise the Shaymen arrive with a clean bill of health.
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
There are likely to be three players who start the televised fixture who have experience in the other camp in the form of the visitors’ Matt Warburton and Tom Bradbury and Josh Staunton, who seems likely to line up in midfield for Yeovil.
Warburton arrived in West Yorkshire in August following his release from Northampton Town having played 19 times for the Glovers last season during a loan spell when we probably did not see the best of him.
An undoubtedly classy footballer, the 29-year-old has struck up a good relationship with forward Billy Waters and, according to our conversation with the Halifax Courier’s Tom Scargill on the latest edition of the podcast, has been unlucky not to get on the scoresheet already.
Central defender Bradbury has started in the opening three matches this term having made 35 appearances for the Shaymen last season and is a permanent fixture in the visitors’ backline.
Meanwhile, Staunton, who sat out most of last season through injury, will be a familiar face to the travelling fans having spent two seasons at the club.
He was part of the Halifax side which reached the National League play-off semi-finals in the 2019-20 campaign.