Hornchurch ‘have what it takes’

McFarlane backs Urchins for promotion

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane is backing his men to beat Lowestoft in their Ryman Premier Division play-off final on Monday (3pm).

Urchins earned their place with victory over Bury in midweek and McFarlane says clinching promotion to Conference South will complete a ‘fantastic season’.

He said: “Given what the club has been through, it will be fantastic for Hornchurch to get promotion. And it’s achievable.

“This is a club with unity. We all pull together and on our day we’re a match for anyone.


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“We’re 90 minutes away from completing a fantastic season. It’s a massive game and it wouldn’t be a surprise to me if we beat Lowestoft.”

Goals from strike trio Lewis Smith, Martin Tuohy and Carl Rook sealed a 3-1 win over Bury, while Lowestoft snatched a last-gasp winner from the spot to beat Wealdstone in Suffolk.

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McFarlane added: “We were nervous for the first 20 minutes. Bury settled quicker and I think they’re a good side, they always look dangerous.

“But we slowly got into our stride as the first half wore on and had a couple of good chances.

“I thought we bossed most of the second half and once the third goal went in, it killed them off.”

Urchins will be without captain Elliot Styles due to suspension on Monday, but hope Reiss Noel is fit to return.

But McFarlane has other selection issues to deal with and expects a different type of test from Lowestoft, adding: “Picking our best XI is a tough one. Carl (Rook) and Leon (McKenzie) are very similar and I had a decision to make about who would play.

“But we’ve shown our strength in depth and have got so many good players.

“The team I picked against Bury wasn’t everyone’s choice, but you can count on one hand how many times we’ve played poorly.

“Lowestoft are a bit more direct and we’ll have to cope with that, but we have done well defensively all season.”

McFarlane enjoyed a long playing career as a centre-back himself, but says gaining promotion as manager will be among his best achievements.

“I played for an FA XI and in FA Cup first round ties against Luton and Oldham (for Thurrock). This would be right in amongst them,” he said.

“I desperately miss playing, but this is the next best thing. Being a manager is a lonely job but it would be a fantastic achievement in only my second full season.

“But I’m not taking all the credit. I’ve got a great staff behind me, a really good team and the backing of the club.”

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