Callum Jones (@Goaldust) bids to maintain his outstanding form this weekend with this National League pick.
FC Halifax Town v Aldershot | Saturday 15:00
It’s been a real tough one for me this week. As we get to this stage of the season, there’s so much to play for, and with so many miles now on the clock, anything can happen.
This year’s fight for survival looks as thrilling as any I can remember in the fifth tier, with five points separating six sides at the bottom.
Halifax looked destined to go down earlier this campaign, after losing 14 of their first 20 league games to begin the season, conceding 53 goals in the process (including seven in a game twice). But as I've mentioned before, Jim Harvey has turned things around, and they’ve now got an outstanding chance of surviving.
The Shayman’s recent results have been a little up and down, but their home form has been a shining light. They’ve lost only one of their last ten at the Shay, and are unbeaten in nine games in their own patch against sides outside of the top ten in the division.
When pressure has mounted, they have responded, winning their last three in West Yorkshire, including Tuesday’s dramatic game against fellow strugglers Boreham Wood. Harvey’s side may be lacking the stars of previous campaigns, but a solid team seemingly works just as effectively.
Talking of relegation candidates, Aldershot are one side who could still be dragged into the dogfight. I thought their troubles were over at half-time against Grimsby on Tuesday, as the Shots went in 2-0 in front, but they blew it, and ended up losing 4-3 thanks to a 90th minute John Nolan winner.
Their recent record has been pretty shocking, having won only two of their last 11 in the league (against rock bottom Kidderminster and a depleted Braintree side), and have lost seven of their last 12 on their travels.
Barry Smith’s side have failed to score in three of their last four away games, and that doesn’t bode well for their trip up north – the Shaymen have scored in 17 of their last 20 home league fixtures.
There’s no doubt Aldershot are finding goals an issue at the moment, and it’s doubtful one will be enough to snatch all three points on Saturday – FCHT have lost 0-1 at the Shay only once in their last 67 league games.
All in all, Jim Harvey’s side will see this game as a must-win in their fight to stay up. They’ve displayed a great deal of mental strength in recent weeks, and I genuinely believe their young squad have the confidence and quality to get themselves through the next month or so.
That all starts on Saturday, and their price of 6/5 seems more than reasonable. The Shots are in a real rut at the moment, and if there’s one place you don’t want to visit when you’re stuck in a rut, it’s the Shay.
FC Halifax Town v Aldershot – Halifax to win (6/5 William Hill)
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