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Bostik North: Elliot Styles says Hornchurch are coping well with pressure of being top ahead of trip to Canvey Island

PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 December 2017

Nathan Cooper was Hornchurch's matchwinner for the second game in succession (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Nathan Cooper was Hornchurch's matchwinner for the second game in succession (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

Urchins visit Gulls on Saturday, before hosting Canvey Island on Tuesday

Theo Fairweather-Johnson of Hornchurch hits the bar against Sudbury (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) Theo Fairweather-Johnson of Hornchurch hits the bar against Sudbury (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Skipper Elliot Styles believes Hornchurch are thriving under the pressure of being Bostik North leaders ahead of visiting fellow promotion hopefuls Canvey Island on Saturday.

Urchins head into the weekend seven points clear at the top of the table and have games in hand over many of the teams around them.

The Bridge Avenue side will hope this weekend’s trip to Gulls leads to an eighth unbeaten game in succession in the league.

But Styles is aware it will be tough against a Cavney side who last season were relegated from the Bostik Premier.

“There is a great rivalry between the two clubs because we are both big non-league clubs in the area and we’re both desperate to get back into the Bostik Premier,” he said.

“When you are top of the table, everyone you play wants to be the team that beats you.

“There is a responsibility and a pressure that comes with that, but at the minute we’re thriving under it.”

Following the trip to Canvey, Hornchurch return home on Tuesday to host Barking in the league.

After winning promotion from the Essex Senior League last season, the Blues have been something of a surprise package this term and currently sit sixth.

And Styles is fully aware of the threat posed by Barking, commenting they have a squad full of players who can compete at this level.

“Barking have a very good squad and they have plenty of players who are experienced at this level,” he added.

“We are wary of the threat they pose and it is another derby for us to look forward to.

“At this stage in the season, the league shows why teams are where they are, but hopefully we can show why we are top.”

Hornchurch will hope Nathan Cooper can continue his scoring form over the next week, with the defender having scored in the last three matches.

And Styles, who himself knows a thing or two about being a goalscoring defender, is pleased for Cooper.

“We look a threat every time we get a set piece that we can deliver into the opposition area, and that is something Jimmy wants,” he said.

“It’s good for Nathan to get the goals, and he could have had even more. If we want to win the title, we know we all have to chip in with goals.”

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