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In Focus: FC Halifax Town

4 November 2013

Ahead of MK Dons’ The FA Cup with Budweiser opener this weekend, takes an in-depth look at the team’s First Round Proper opponents, FC Halifax Town.

for the first time to fight for a place in the Second Round Proper of one of the world's most prestigious cup competitions.mkstadiumOn Saturday 9th November, the Skrill Premier Shaymen will visit

Karl Robinson’s side have made it past the First Round in three of the last four seasons but will face a difficult test against a side who earned promotion from the Conference North in 2012/13 through the play-offs.

Manager - Neil Aspin
Aspin is a former English professional footballer who took charge of FC Halifax Town in April 2009.

Born in Gateshead, Aspin began his playing career as a trainee with Leeds United, making over 240 appearances in seven seasons at Elland Road. The right-back then signed for Port Vale in 1989, helping them lift the Football League Trophy in 1993 and win promotion from the Second Division in 1994.

Following his departure from Port Vale, a place where he featured over 300 times, Aspin enjoyed short spells at Hartlepool United, Darlington, Harrogate Town and FC Halifax Town, before retiring in 2004.

Appointed as manager of former club Harrogate Town the following season, Aspin spent four and a half years in North Yorskhire before leaving by mutual consent in April 2009 and taking charge of FC Halifax Town several days later.

In his four full seasons with FC Halifax Town, Aspin has led the Shaymen to three promotions, picking up several Manager of the Month awards along the way. Aspin was named the Non-League Paper’s Manager of the Year in 2012.

Key players
Lee Gregory – A former Mansfield Town trainee, Gregory is the Club’s current leading goalscorer with eight goals to his name in all competitions.

The 25-year-old made just two appearances for the Stags before joining FC Halifax Town on a free transfer in August 2011.

Helping the Shaymen to promotion last season, Gregory is currently the Skrill Premier’s third top-goalscorer.

Dan Gardner – Gardner, 23, began his footballing career with Celtic but after failing to make a first team appearance he joined Crewe Alexandra in 2009.

Featuring just twice from the bench for the Railwaymen in League Two, Gardner joined FC Halifax Town in July 2012 after a short spell with Droylsden.

Gardner, a real offensive weapon for the Shaymen, has six goals and four assists to his name already this season.

Paul Marshall – A midfield player with a sweet left foot, Marshall is an ex-Manchester City youth product who was a regular in the Reserves during his time with the Premier League giants.

Having enjoyed loan spells at Blackpool, Port Vale and Aberdeen during his time at the Etihad Stadium, Marshall has since made over 50 League appearances for Walsall, Rochdale, Stockport County and now FC Halifax Town.

Marshall represented England Under-20s at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2009, alongside former MK Dons striker Sam Baldock.

Nickname: The Shaymen
Ground: The Shay (Capacity 14,061; 5,830 seated)
Kit: Blue shirts, white shorts, blue socks.

FC Halifax Town were formed in 2008 after Halifax Town AFC went into administration during the 2007/08 season.

Placed in the Northern Premier League Division One North, FC Halifax Town almost won instant promotion in their first season but a poor run of results in the final few months of the season saw them slip from first place into eighth.

Appointing Neil Aspin as manager at the end of the 2008/09 season, FC Halifax Town stormed to promotion the following campaign, winning the title with a massive 100 points. The title was sealed with a 2-2 draw at home to Clitheroe in front of over 3,000 fans.

FC Halifax Town then made it back-to-back League titles when they lifted the Northern Premier League title in 2011. The Shaymen recorded their biggest ever win that season, an 8-1 thrashing at home to Ossett Town in mid-January.

Remarkably, FC Halifax Town conceded just six League goals in their two title-winning seasons and despite another strong League campaign in 2011/12 they failed to make it three-straight promotions, losing out in the play-offs to Gainsborough Trinity.

The Shaymen did, however, enjoy a decent FA Cup run and after making it through the qualifying campaign with relative ease, they drew League One outfit Charlton Athletic in a match which was shown live on ITV. Over 4,600 fans watched the game, which finished 4-0 to the Addicks.

FC Halifax Town put the promotion heart-ache behind them in 2012/13 booking their place in the Skrill Premier with a 1-0 victory over Brackley Town in the Conference North Play-Off final.

The 2013/14 season began with manager Neil Aspin penning a new two-year deal at the Shay, a deal which would keep him with the club until 2015.

Aspin followed-up his contract renewal by signing a host of new players, including Simon Ainge from Luton Town, Paul Marshall from Stockport County and Adam Smith from Lincoln. However, FC Halifax Town did lose talented young defender Liam Hogan to Fleetwood Town.

They Shaymen didn’t get off to the best of starts this campaign, losing 5-1 in their opening League game away at Cambridge United, but the West Yorkshire-men did recover to win three and draw one of their next four games.

Since then, Aspin’s side have lost just two of their last six League games and they currently sit five points below the play-off places in 12th heading into this weekend.

Tickets for this match will be on sale right up until kick-off on Saturday 9th November from the MK Dons Box Office at stadiummk and the kiosk at thecentre:mk.

To purchase tickets, visit the MK Dons Box Office at stadiummk or the kiosk at thecentre:mk, call 01908 622900 or e-mail Tickets can also be bought via the Online Ticket Service – click here for season ticket holder/member tickets or click here for non-season ticket holder/non-member tickets

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