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Safety First For New Shaymen Boss

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Tuesday marked a new era for FC Halifax Town, as interim manager Jim Harvey was announced as the Vanarama National League club`s new manager on a deal until the end of the season.

“I’m really happy with it. It was what we were working towards over the last couple of weeks, so I’m really excited,” said Harvey. “I’m glad it`s been sorted out before Christmas, because it means I can enjoy it with my family, they’re all really delighted.”

It’s been a tough season for the Shaymen, the worst since the re-formed club began. This season has seen two manager depart, and hit the lows are propping up the National League.

But now under the former Morecambe leader, FC Halifax are unbeaten in five games, and are now looking up the table and aiming to climb out of the dreaded bottom four.

“I’ve got a lot of belief in my own ability,” expressed Harvey. “I’ve been in football for what it seems forever. I was in a similar situation when I was at Forest Green Rovers, they were bottom of the league when I took over and only had eight points, they looked pretty poor at the time and I managed to turn them around, and by the end of the season we finished fourteenth, which was fantastic. I’ve been here before so I’m not scared by the task, there are a lot of qualities within the squad but I felt they had to re-focus again.”

Since his arrival at the end of November, Harvey pin-pointed the defence as a major problem and he has worked his magic on the back four, with only five goals conceded in as many matches.

“From a defencive point of view, we were conceding far too many goals and we had to put that right, by concentrating on that, it’s enabled us to then steal the ball back and get out to play how we want to play and attack.

“Everyone in the team has to work, they all have a responsibility and they all have to work hard and focus on the job. Collectively we have been poor and we have been exposed, but I have had to rally them and refocus them and tell them they are good players and get everyone pulling in the right direction.”

So Harvey has been appointed until the end of season, tasked with keeping FC Halifax in the National League, but the Irishman admitted he was offered an extend deal, but he wanted to be realistic.

“It suits all parties, it was offered for a year and a half, but I feel we need to get the club into the right position and in a healthy place in the league, then everyone will have a lot more confidence going forward.

“If we can maintain our status in the National League then at the end of the season we can reassess and make a plan of how we can attack it in the future. I’d love to extend my stay at the end of the season if we can maintain our status.”

You can soon run away with your dreams when things are going right, and with the Shaymen on their best run of form all season long, undefeated in five games, Harvey was quick to keep everyone’s feet on the ground.

“I’d be a fool to think anything further than getting out of the bottom four,” said Harvey. “That in itself would be a major effort because we are virtually at the half way marker now, so that is going to be tough. We have a lot of ground to make up on the competition around us, getting out of the bottom four is our priority and until we are out of there and safe, we won’t think about anything else.”

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