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Martin: "Our challenge is to put down a marker"

30 January 2015

Manager hoping to show how far his team have come against Halifax this weekend.

Martin Allen is expecting a tough test this weekend as his side travel to FC Halifax Town looking to strengthen their position at the top of the Vanarama Conference table.

Speaking ahead of the game the Barnet manager reflected on a positive week following last weekend’s victory over Southport at The Hive as Barnet prepare to take on fellow promotion chasers Halifax this weekend:

“It has been a good week but every week has been an enjoyable week at Barnet Football Club. Even when we haven’t managed to win a game the players have always given everything in terms of commitment so whatever happens nothing has ever got any of us down.

“We have just calmly and quietly gone about our business. It was clear that we needed to improve and change things and it was nice on Saturday to play in front of our supporters and to get three points - and to score four goals and keep a clean sheet was good for everybody.

“Now we have another challenge in Halifax to look forward to.”

And with the Shaymen currently just one point off the play-offs with games in hand, Martin is under no illusion just what a difficult proposition Neil Aspin’s side with pose:

“I’ve been out watching games an awful lot throughout January to get an eye on everybody and there are going to be difficult challenges week in week out – especially being top of the league team throughout the season.

“It is always a big game when other teams play us as they want to knock us off our perch but somehow or other we just keep bouncing back and getting on with our job.

“I saw Halifax play last week at Dartford. They are a very strong and well-organised team.

“I think the Halifax game at home at the end of last season when I was the manager, I thought Halifax could have won that game 9-0. They totally destroyed our team that day and it was on the way home from that game that I realised that major surgery was needed and a massive shake-up of the players and the staff was required if we were going to do anything this year.

“That game was the catalyst for the change that was needed and now we step forward with a new team, a new squad, new staff and our challenge now is to put a marker down to show how much we have improved both on and off the field to take on what is a very competitive and successful team.”

The manager finished by bringing supporters up to date with the latest injury news as left-back Elliott Johnson pushes for a return to first team action:

“Keanu Marsh-Brown had a tight thigh after the game at Grimsby so has continued this week with a strength and conditioning programme that involves lots of gym work.

“Elliott will have a late fitness test. He started training a couple of days ago but we will have to see how he is.

“The physio has done a fantastic job with him – they have worked morning and afternoon and even sometimes in the evening. Both Elliott and Jayde have shown the real commitment and work that is needed to be successful, that’s for sure.”

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