Our summer series looking more closely at Pools' opponents for 2017/18 continues as we make the relatively short journey to West Yorkshire.
Nickname: The Shaymen
Who’s in charge?
Billy Heath was appointed as FC Halifax Town’s new boss last summer, signing a two-year contract to succeed Jim Harvey who had left following their FA Trophy triumph at the end of 2015/16.
Heath’s credentials were good, given that he had won promotion with North Ferriby in 2015/16 and has also won the FA Trophy during a five year spell with the club.
A former player at North Ferriby, Lincoln United, Matlock and Alfreton, Heath has also previously managed Bridlington Town, Frickley Athletic and Hall Road Rangers.
How did they get on last season?
A run of seven wins from their last nine wasn’t quite enough to see Halifax sneak in to the automatic promotion spot in National League North but it did cement their place in the play-offs.
Billy Heath’s men suffered a slight wobble in form around Christmas but quickly recovered their momentum and had been one of the challengers at the top throughout 2016/17.
A tense play-off semi-final with Salford City was navigated in the most dramatic of circumstances when both legs were drawn before the Yorkshire outfit squeezed through on penalties.
The Final with Chorley was no less nerve-wracking and Town needed an extra-time strike from defender Scott Garner to seal promotion after the sides were locked at 1-1 on 90 minutes.
When did we last meet?
Halifax have been among our regular opponents down the years and we’ve met in competitive action some 123 times in the past. The Shaymen have the edge historically, having won 56 times in comparison to Pools’ 46 victories.
However, Pools are undefeated in their last six all competitions against Town, the most recent coming in April 2002 when goals from Gordon Watson and Graeme Lee secured a 2-0 win.
Where do they play?
Halifax continue to play at The Shay since their reformation, a stadium which had been their home since 1920. It currently has a capacity of just over 14,000 and also hosts the town’s Rugby League team.
When do we play them?
The National League fixtures are due to be released on around 5th July.
Mark Carruthers of NonLeagueDaily.com gives us his insight on Halifax’s chances in 2017/18…
“Newly-promoted FC Halifax Town will provide stern opposition to opposing sides in the National League this season.
“I don’t mind admitting I am a big admirer of manager Billy Heath. His work at North Ferriby United deserves a lot more credit that it receives.
“Heath took the Villagers from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League to the National League, won a number of League Cups and shocked Wrexham to win the FA Trophy Final in 2015.
“Surprisingly, Heath left to take over at The Shay just days after North Ferriby secured promotion into the National League.
“The job he did last season deserves a lot of credit. With a largely new squad, albeit with a number of players from his time with North Ferriby, Heath led The Shaymen back into non-league’s top tier at the first time of asking.
“It took a Play-Off Final win over ambitious Salford City to do it, but they got there and the players deserve a lot of credit for their achievements last time out.
“Heath has largely stuck with the squad of players that secured promotion, although he has added Wrexham defender Martin Riley and AFC Fylde attacking midfield man Bohan Dixon.
“Talented winger Matty Kosylo and former Liverpool youngster Adam Morgan will be two players to watch out for this season.
“Home form is key for The Shaymen and if they get that right they will be looking at a lower mid-table finish.”