Urchins boss McFarlane targeting top-five finish

McFarlane will question himself if they fail to make play-offs

Jimmy McFarlane insists he will subject himself to serious self-analysis if he fails to lead Hornchurch to a top-five finish next season.

The Urchins boss believes his side hugely under-achieved by finishing 10th in the Ryman Premier League last term.

They collected eight points more than the previous season – but dropped one place in the table.

And the manager is demanding so much more from his troops – and himself – in the forthcoming campaign.

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McFarlane said: “I was bitterly disappointed with last year’s finish given the squad we had.

“We picked up 69 points and the year before that would have seen us into the play-offs.

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“But it’s not about the points, it’s where you finish in the table and 10th wasn’t good enough.

“This season our target has to be the play-offs and that’s the absolute minimum I will accept.

“We don’t have the biggest of budgets and we have to work hard for the money we do spend.

“But if we don’t finish with at least a play-off place I’ll have to sit back and take a good, hard look at myself.”

Hornchurch kicked off their pre-season friendly campaign with a 2-0 win at Maldon & Tiptree last Saturday.

Joe Flack and Aaron Gayle scored the second-half goals against the Ryman Division One North side.

And McFarlane was delighted with how things progressed.

He said: “I was really pleased with how the game went, both in terms of the way we played and our general fitness.

“I named a different team for each half – last season’s side for one and one based around trialists for another.

“I had a whole team of trialists, but I’ve whittled those down to four or five players and I’ll take my final look at those in our next pre-season friendly at Grays on Wednesday.”

One trialist who caught the eye of fans in last weekend’s game was young Spanish midfielder Riba.

And McFarlane said: “He’s a central midfielder and has shown some nice touches, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“Some of the continental players look good when they get lots of time on the ball, but English non-league football is something else.”

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