It’s trial and error for Urchins boss Jim

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 July 2015

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO).

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Bridge Avenue club preparing for first friendly match of the season

Hornchurch start their pre-season campaign against Essex Senior League side Ilford this weekend and manager Jimmy McFarlane is hoping his trialists can impress.

Urchins play the Foxes tomorrow (Saturday) at Robert Clack School and it is the first step towards trying to earn promotion from the Ryman North next year.

McFarlane is excited to see his squad in action, but admits the clash with Ilford and next Thursday’s (July 16) game against Barking at Mayesbrook Park are mainly to see how good or bad the trialists are.

“I know the Ilford manager Allan Fenn really well from his days at Redbridge,” said McFarlane.

“These first couple of games are really an opportunity to look at the boys who I don’t know too much about, like the trialists. By the time we go to Ramsgate next Saturday (July 18), I’ll have more of an idea about all of them.

“You can’t judge them just on training. We do a little bit of ball work, but players can be brilliant runners and you chuck them a ball and they can’t even kick it!”

Although McFarlane would love to go out and bring in a squad full of established non-league players, he admits sides need to keep trying to find a diamond in the rough.

Former England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright didn’t get into the professional game until he was 21 and McFarlane is hoping to find someone like the famous forward.

He added: “When you haven’t got the money of teams like Margate you have to look at trialists and most teams are in the same situation as us.

“Normally we find a nugget each year. We haven’t yet, but I am sure we will. There are always one or two who for whatever reason haven’t been picked up yet.

“Maybe they haven’t taken their football seriously and you look at someone like Ian Wright, he wasn’t picked up until he was 21, so you do get those players out there.”

The season is just under a month away, but excitement has been building for Urchins supporters since they found out star man George Purcell was staying and David Knight had been brought to the Bridge Avenue club.

McFarlane can’t wait for the new campaign to start, but warned the Ryman North will be tough.

“There is a real buzz around the place amongst the players and staff and people are sensing we’re going to have a good year,” he added.

“It won’t be a walk in the park and people are already saying it will be the strongest Ryman North in years, but it looks like we are well covered in all areas and it should be a really good season.”

Hornchurch will host a West Ham XI on Tuesday August 4.

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