Hornchurch look to stay in promotion race on another derby day
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 February 2014
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Ryman Premier Preview: AFC Hornchurch v Grays Athletic
Hornchurch are set to host another local rival in the Ryman Premier Division as Grays visit Bridge Avenue tomorrow (Saturday) – and it is a match they cannot afford to lose.
Urchins actually made ground on their promotion rivals on Tuesday, despite a poor performance in a 1-1 draw against Canvey Island, but boss Jimmy McFarlane admits his team cannot have too many more setbacks if they are to remain in the hunt.
He said: “We keep getting little setbacks and sooner rather than later we are going to make it too late to win it and we’ll have to go through these play-offs.
“I’ve been quite successful in play-offs, but your luck is going to run out sooner rather than later.
“We are trying to win this league so we can’t be worrying about people down the bottom and we have just got to get on with it.”
Former Grays CEO Andy Swallow was appointed as manager earlier this week to ease the workload on player-boss Ryan Kirby and allow the defender to play more minutes.
McFarlane admitted that was not positive news for his team – who won 5-1 when the sides met at Mill Field earlier in the season – but Grays lost 6-0 to Maidstone on Tuesday in the league cup and were due to play again last night (Thursday).
McFarlane added: “They put a weakened side out (against Maidstone). I spoke to Ryan because they have got the game on Thursday against Leiston.
“That’s not good news that Ryan will play more because he is still a good player. I played with Ryan and he is a very good player, but we’ve just got to get going again. I’ll be hoping Ryan puts himself on the bench!”
Injuries are starting to pile up for McFarlane’s squad ahead of tomorrow’s clash and Tuesday’s away fixture against Hampton & Richmond Borough.
Recent new signing James Folkes was injured against Wealdstone two weeks ago, while Alex Bentley is out for the foreseeable future.
Then on Tuesday night Leigh Bremner and Rickie Hayles were forced off with injuries, the latter with a hamstring pull.
McFarlane added: “We did have James Folkes for one minute. I brought him on against Wealdstone and he dislocated his shoulder so that is a blow.
“I had been told really good things about him so I was looking forward to seeing him play. It looks like a couple of weeks now though at least.
“Losing Rickie was a massive blow on Tuesday, we don’t know how bad that is yet.