Hornchurch boss ready for tough derby double

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 December 2016

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS 1376 553468

McFarlane prepares squad for trips to Brentwood and Thurrock

Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane expects two tough derbies over the coming days as his side look to extend their 14-match unbeaten run in Ryman North.

Urchins end 2016 with a trip to struggling Brentwood tomorrow (Saturday), before visiting second-placed Thurrock for their first match of the new year on Tuesday.

And after seeing his side climb into a play-off place with a 3-1 win over Aveley before Christmas, McFarlane wants to keep up the momentum, despite being without Junior Luke due to a one-game ban.

He said: “I’d take four points from the next two, but the way we’re playing it takes a good side to beat us. We’ve got a decent squad, with numbers coming back.

“The first half at our place Brentwood ran us ragged. The second half was better and we probably deserved to go on and win.

“We have to contend with teams in the lower half of the table. They raise their games and get another 25 per cent from their players.

“Thurrock are a good side, one of our main competitors, but all games are tough during the holiday period.”

Urchins ensured a happy Christmas at Bridge Avenue with their success over Aveley, courtesy of two more goals from leading scorer Leon McKenzie and Kenzer Lee’s first for the club.

And McFarlane felt it was no more than his side deserved, adding: “It was our best performance of the season. We’ve done it for 45/60 minutes in games, but not often for the full 90. The last time was probably when we played Thurrock.

“We have missed Abs Thompson. He’s had a bit of a tight hamstring, but he looked back to how he was at the beginning of the season. Every time he got the ball he roasted their full-back.

“Leon and Ross Wall have become a good pairing and look for one another, which is nice with two forwards. Leon has got 35 goals in 63 games which is a brilliant return for him.

“My wife was praying we didn’t get beat, our whole Christmas depended on it!”

But it proved to be Abs Seymour’s last game for the club, as he moved to join Ryman Premier Division side Billericay the following day.

Seymour impressed in central midfield against the Millers, but McFarlane said: “Abs had said he was not interested, but Billericay put a seven-day approach in, which was up on Christmas Eve.

“I had six or seven calls from Abs, he was ‘umming and ahhing’ but it was too hard to turn down.

“It’s football, I’m not naive and wish him well. He’s a good lad.”

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