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UTILITA PREVIEW | Ian Watson on ‘high-intensity’ FC Halifax Town test
Jack McGraghan
Author: Jack McGraghan

12th September 2022

Ian Watson is anticipating a high-intensity affair when Gateshead travel to The Shay to face FC Halifax Town on Tuesday evening.

The postponement of Saturday’s trip to Chesterfield has afforded The Heed more time to focus on Halifax than they would have had otherwise, but Watson expects his side to be tested nonetheless.

“Sometimes it’s tough when you have a game Saturday and then Tuesday,” said the assistant manager.

“You’re hoping that you don’t pick any injuries up on the Saturday, and that the boys can recover quite quickly so they’re as close to 100% as they can be for Tuesday.

“It means the boys should all be really fresh for tomorrow and we know it’s going to be a really difficult game, as Chesterfield would have been.

“Halifax will be in a similar mindset to ourselves, in that they’re probably focusing more on performances than results at this stage.

“We’ve watched them several times and they’re a good side, they’re high energy and we’re expecting the intensity from both teams to be through the roof, so it should be a good game.

“For us it’s about doing what we do, imposing our style on them and on the back of winning our last game we want to try and add to that.”

Tuesday’s 174-mile round trip to West Yorkshire will be Gateshead’s second-shortest away journey of the season in the Vanarama National League, behind only the 142 miles to York City.

“The travel is something you definitely look at,” said Watson.

“It might be our first short one of the season really, they’ve all been overnight stays or a long time spent on the bus.

“It’ll be a bit of a later set off for us, which means the boys can prepare in the morning, and we should get to the game full of energy and fully refreshed.”

Mike Williamson and Watson’s squad remains as it was prior to Saturday’s postponement, though a number of players are approaching a return to action following various injury lay-offs.

“Ethan [Pye] needed 17 days of doing nothing with his concussion, it was quite a bad one,” added Watson.

“He’s back in now so he’s able to do a little bit in the gym, but we have to make sure he is in the best possible health when he does come back to playing football.

“Knighty [Lewis Knight] is progressing really well and we’re really excited to have him back – he’s still a little while away but he’s progressing quicker than we originally thought.

“Aaron [Martin] has had a little bit of a setback with his hamstring again, so we’re trying to manage that before we get him into games.

“Jarv [Dan Jarvis] is fully fit now but we really want to make sure that he’s ready and robust enough to go back into games because he didn’t have a pre-season.

“The temptation is to put him back in because we know what a good player he is and that he adds to us as a team, but we really want to make sure that he’s right.

“It’s a little bit too soon for Kenton [Richardson] but we don’t think it’s going to be too long before he’s back, so it’s quite positive for everyone on the injury front.”

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