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Mark Halstead On Grimsby Cup Clash

15 December 2015

Goalkeeper Confident Ahead Of Second Round Replay

"If you look at the fixtures coming up, we have a few winnable games. With the squad we’ve got, every game is winnable,” he said.

"We can definitely take maximum points from the next few games, especially if we start with a win against Grimsby."

But Halstead is optimistic that Shrewsbury can enjoy a profitable couple of weeks and that an FA Cup victory will set them up for a positive festive period.

As the intense Christmas schedule gets underway, Micky Mellon’s men prepare for testing league meetings with Swindon Town, Fleetwood Town and Crewe Alexandra respectively in quick succession following the Grimsby match.

"I’m not a young kid anymore so I’ve got a bit of experience behind me but it’s nice to have some experience in front of you," the 25-year-old added.

"Gerrard has been around for a long time. Even Junior (Brown) and Jermaine (Grandison) have played a lot of games so we have a very experienced team on the whole.

"Looking at the league position we’re in, I don’t believe that, with the squad quality we have, we should be there so it’s down to us to change that."

With the likes of Ian Black and Anthony Gerrard in the side, Halstead has plenty of experience in front of him- something that he admits is very beneficial.

“We’re good friends, we work well together and have done for a long time.

"It was not nice to see him go down the other night- you don’t want to see a friend hurt but, at the same time, when he has come off the pitch then it’s my opportunity.

"We get on very well. If I keep my head on and keep the shirt for the next couple of games, then I’m sure he’ll support me."
Asked about his relationship with Leutwiler, Halstead said:

"Obviously, it’s always nice to be playing," said the goalkeeper.

"This time, I’ve got my opportunity in only my second game back from injury so I’m looking to have a bit of a longer stay this time.

"You’ve always got to be ready. I’ve been doing it a lot longer than I have wanted to but I’ve got an opportunity and that’s all irrelevant.

"I’ve just got to prepare to get into the team and prolong my stay."

But, despite the circumstances, Halstead is pleased to be back in the fold and is eager to make the most of his opportunity.

Halstead started his first game since October in the 1-1 draw with Peterborough on Saturday after he had to replace Jayson Leutwiler, who suffered a broken nose and concussion, in that Grimsby fixture a week ago.
"We need to put right what we didn’t do last week," said Halstead.

"The way we performed wasn’t good enough but we have a chance to put it right.

"I don’t think we performed the way we have shown we are capable of playing in recent weeks. Grimsby played very well and put us under a lot of pressure.

"They showed what they can do but we’re aware of their threats now and if we play like we did in the second half of Saturday then I have no doubt that we’ll progress to the third round."

And Halstead believes that he and his teammates can set up an inviting away trip to Championship outfit Cardiff City in January if they play to their usual standards.

Town take on The Mariners in a Second Round Proper replay at Greenhous Meadow after the sides drew 0-0 at Blundell Park last Monday.

Goalkeeper Mark Halstead is confident Shrewsbury Town can overcome Vanarama National League side Grimsby Town and progress to the FA Cup Third Round Proper on Tuesday night.

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