Hornchurch boss happy to host Hammers hopefuls

Urchins welcome West Ham XI

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane battled it out with some of the biggest names in West Ham’s recent history as a player.

And he is looking forward to sending his Urchins side out against the Upton Park club’s promising youngsters tomorrow (Saturday).

With West Ham beginning their Championship campaign against Cardiff on Sunday, Urchins will not get to see the likes of Scott Parker and Carlton Cole at Bridge Avenue.

But McFarlane said: “West Ham will be a great test for us. Their youngsters will be fit and sharp and they’re professional footballers.

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“We used to play the full side every year when I was at Purfleet.

“Harry Redknapp was the West Ham manager then and would bring the first-team squad down.

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“I marked Ian Wright, Paolo di Canio, Paulo Wanchope and John Hartson, but now so many clubs want to play them because of the financial implications and it’s hard for them to send out strong sides all the time.

“They will test our fitness and I’ll mix it about a bit as there are a couple of lads I need a longer look at.”

Urchins were due to host Ryman Premier Division rivals Tonbridge last night (Thursday), having beaten Harlow at the weekend.

Goals from Lewis Smith and Aaron Gayle clinched a 2-0 success and made it four wins in a row in pre-season.

McFarlane added: “I’ve been pleased with all aspects so far.

“I’ve been really pleased with the new boys who have come in and the application of the lads who were there last year. They’ve been like new players and I’ve not had a complaint from any of them yet.

“They’ve all trained hard and none of them have taken the games lightly.

“I’ve got 16 I know will be staying but we still need to trim two or three.”

Hornchurch were due to visit Heybridge on Tuesday, but were left looking for another fixture when Swifts pulled out.

McFarlane said: “They’re going to play Essex United instead. The Only Way Is Essex people have put a team together - Paul Shave is involved - and they drew 1-1 with Lewes.

“With the interest they generate, there are going to be lots going to watch them, but it’s late notice for us. Colin [McBride] has been ringing around trying to find us another game, but where will we get a friendly now? It’s mucked us up a bit.”

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