After Sutton, Wrexham will come up against another side willing to go direct in Halifax, but there is a great deal more variety to their approach.
Admittedly, often Halifax don’t tend to look to pass through the midfield third; instead they often empty that part of the pitch when their defenders have the ball and look to play longer passes. Sometimes they will look for runners to try to latch onto around the sides of the opposing defence, but if they want to go through the middle, Tom Denton is a big target man who enjoys aerial combat with centre backs.
Unlike some target men, who want to focus on flick-ons, he is also eager to follow the ball into the box, and scores his fair share from crosses and latching onto second balls around the area.
However, Halifax are not restricted to direct passing in their approach. They tend to look to get through the thirds quickly, but they can also do that by using their impressive wide players.
On the left, Matt Kosylo is a huge threat, as his tally of five goals already this season suggests. He is two-footed, making him difficult to handle as the full back is unsure whether to show him inside or outside, and has a low centre of gravity and a burst of pace which enable him to change direction and gain an extra yard as he surges past his man. Equally happy cutting in and shooting or going round the outside to cross, he will need to be watched carefully, as the qualities I just mentioned mean that he does not require space behind a high defensive line to run into as he can beat his man in a restricted area, even when the defence is deep.
On the other flank, Josh MacDonald is a more traditional winger. He likes to use his considerable pace to go round the outside of his full back, and pulls the ball back with his right foot. Unlike Kosylo, he is more inclined to want space to run into behind the defence, and therefore is very effective on the break.
Defensively, Halifax have had problems with their personnel lately, and the suspension of Scott Garner has left them looking for a central defensive alternative in their last two games. At Ebbsfleet on Saturday, Nathan Hotte filled in as centre back rather than play his usual defensive midfield role.
Their right back, Cliff Moyo, has come under scrutiny lately as well. A pacy, physical full back, he has had questions asked of his decision-making in recent weeks, particularly after he made an error which led to a goal by Bromley a week on Saturday: running into his own half with no apparent picture of what to do with the ball, he was dispossessed as he hesitated and Town’s defence were unable to recover.
The issue was revisited in the opening moments at Ebbsfleet. He chased the ball into a central area in midfield, and then stayed there, taking up a position more akin to an inverted right wing back. At first it seemed that this was a specific tactical instruction, but the huge hole left behind him at right back, and the fact that he did not do this again subsequently, suggested not: if he was merely following the ball, that suggests he might have lapses of concentration which could leave the right back position open to counter-attacks.