shaymen offer town early test

Brighouse Town’s first pre-season friendly with FC Halifax Town has been confirmed for Saturday, July 9 (3pm).

Town commence pre-season training next Tuesday but manager Paul Quinn expects the players coming through to have done quite a bit of work ahead of what they can expect on the night and then again, two days later.

Supporters are expected to attend to see for themselves any new faces that have come in, with assistant manager Mark Booth saying they expect several who are expected to have a trial and one or two who are near to signing.

This match will also be eagerly looked forward to by Halifax’s new manager, Billy Heath, who will be looking at the new charges he has inherited and those he has already brought in, including his capture from former club North Ferriby, Tom Denton, the Peter Crouch of non-league football at 6ft 7ins.

Heath has also brought with him from Humberside, midfielder Liam King, who says he doesn’t expect Halifax to hang around long in National North and thus give himself the chance to play at the top level of non-league football which he has denied himself by leaving the ‘Villagers’ for the Shaymen.

Town officials had been anticipating, and hoping, for a Tuesday night game with so many alternative weekend attractions at this time of the year, but, as Booth added, they are just grateful Halifax have once more opted to come to the Dual Seal Stadium to give his club the chance of a healthy three-figure gate and all the other spin offs.

Town’s new-look Development squad, including U-18 players for the FA Youth Cup, got their pre-season underway on Tuesday evening.

The Development team had 20 players training, a mixture of last year’s retained squad and new faces following the recent trials. A similar number will train again tonight under the supervision of development team coach Simon Ward and new first-team coach Dave Thompson.

This will be Thompson’s first opportunity to bring his coaching skills and style to the training pitches at Brighouse and will give him the chance to get to know some of the younger members of the club before he begins his main remit of coaching the first team.

This is further evidence of the integrated approach that the club has to all players – a philosophy fully-supported by the new arrival alongside manager Quinn.

The group were put through their paces by old heads Barry Thomas and manager Charlie Tolley and worked very hard for a 90-minute session that involved a full hour of stamina and fitness work – all involving a ball – ensuring they were honing their footballing skills and fitness at the same time.

First-team squad members Will Tolley, Tim Wallace, Ellis Nicholls and Mark Everingham looked sharp and set a great example for all.

New recruits Watson Peel, Charlie Hirst, Dillon Johnson and Luke Pelling – all players who will vie for starting positions in the Under-18 FA Youth squad as well as the Development side – all looked comfortable and confident.

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Ethan Nixon, a young player who came through the trials last year but was too young to play in any games, again exhibited fantastic quality and will be an integral part of the set up this following season.

On the evidence of the first couple of sessions the club has once again been successful in attracting a talented group of young players that will provide Paul Quinn with a pool of home grown players to push the more established first team players.

The development boys have pre-season games already in the locker and all away at Halifax Irish, Oxenhope and Buxton United, plus Colne and Brighouse Old Boys in the pipeline.

Wakefield-based Australian John Harbin, who has just moved to Northampton Town as performance and fitness conditioner from Port Vale with his manager Rob Page,.has offered his assistance for variety with a couple of sessions.

He will be talking with Town’s manager when he arrives back from his close season holidays in his homeland this weekend.

Harbin, who came to this country with rugby league and has coached Super League with Wakefield Trinity and Oldham, then moved into football with Iain Dowie and has been with him at Boundary Park, Queens Park Rangers and Coventry City. Harbin’s post ahead of Port Vale was working with former Ireland and Leeds United midfielder John Sheridan at Plymouth Argyle.

Chairman Ray McLaughlin has confirmed to Echo Sport he will be standing down at the Thursday, July 7 AGM.

“Although at present I can only offer limited commitment for the coming season I would like to remain as a committee member. And, hopefully, an improvement in my personal circumstances-his wife, Denise, has been very ill over the past year-will allow me to take a more active role in the club again in the future.

McLaughlin has been involved with the club as a player, manager and chairman over three decades.