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McFarlane hails Hornchurch newcomers

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 September 2017

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane was pleased with the performances of two of his new players in their FA Cup win over Romford at the weekend.

Nathan Cooper’s first-half header against his old club was enough to seal victory in the first qualifying round tie at Ship Lane, as well as earn Urchins £3,000 in prize money.

And the displays of summer signings Jay Porter and Brad Warner caught the eye, in front of a crowd of 333, as McFarlane said: “I’ve never had a full-back like Jay. The nearest was Joe Anderson, who got up and down, with loads of quality.

“Jay has probably been kicked more times than any other player on the park. I thought the tackle down near the corner was an awful challenge. I’m not a shrinking violet for bad challenges, but that was terrible.

“The minute Brad gets the ball you can see defences get on the back foot. He has got pace and quality and he has had a quiet game by his standards but he has been involved in a lot of our good stuff.”

Hornchurch made it six wins out of six in all competitions, but saw Tobi Joseph limp off in the second half, having only just returned from a 20-month absence following a badly broken leg.

McFarlane added: “Tobi is too early to assess, we’ll need 48 hours. He has been a revelation since he came back in away at Bury, so hopefully it’s not too serious, but when you look at our bench, we’ve lost Tobi and brought on Theo Fairweather-Johnson.

“He hasn’t really hit the ground running yet but he will, he got 27 goals last year.

“That’s why you have to have strength in depth and we’ve got it in abundance this year and we’ve just brought in Mathias Fanimo, whose got more quality and pace. The game is about pace now, I don’t know how I would’ve got on! It’s all looking rosy.”

Leon McKenzie netted 37 goals for Urchins last season, as they qualified for the play-offs before losing to Thurrock.

But he had to settle for a substitute role against Romford, although McFarlane revealed he will come into the reckoning once more very soon.

“Leon had to work away the week before last,,” said McFarlane. “He started the season well, Ross Wall came in and took his chance, now Ross is away for a week and a half and Leon will get his chance again.

“That’s what you want, people grabbing their opportunity. Leon has been brilliant about it. If you’re going to have a successful year, you need competition for places.

“Otherwise people take it for granted. Martin Tuohy hasn’t really got lots of minutes, but his record speaks for itself.”

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