Jimmy McFarlane calls on Hornchurch to start Ryman North campaign with win over local rivals Romford
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 August 2016
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Last season's play-off final runners-up make trip to Ship Lane for exciting opening fixture of the season
Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane knows Romford will raise their game for their Ryman North opener at Ship Lane tomorrow (Saturday).
Urchins do battle with their old rivals again and will be looking for revenge after losing both meetings during the 2015/16 campaign.
The first clash of the season ended in Romford winning 2-0, before Paul Martin’s side defeated Hornchurch 1-0 at Bridge Avenue.
George Woodward scored the Boro winner in the second meeting last year, but has switched allegiance this summer and linked up with McFarlane’s men.
A tense clash is expected at Ship Lane with both teams desperate to put early points on the board.
“I watched Romford last Saturday against Harlow Town, but I gauge nothing by it as it was a pre-season friendly,” said McFarlane.
“Harlow were good and Romford were decent in patches. They have some really good young players.
“When it comes to Saturday, every single one of them will improve by 25 per cent because they’re playing us.
“Trust me we won’t be taking them lightly, our downfall last year was we underestimated certain sides and we can’t do that again this time.”
After their derby date with Boro, Hornchurch will entertain Haringey Borough on Tuesday.
It will be the first match they have played at Bridge Avenue this season and McFarlane is determined to get off to a positive start.
He fully expects a tough test against the north London outfit after being impressed by them last year as they finished 15th.
“I remember saying during the past season how Haringey impressed me against Thamesmead Town,” said McFarlane.
“We went there in April and got two early goals and that settled us down and we won 3-0.
“They are all difficult matches, it is a tough league, but if you want to win it you have to beat everybody.
“You can’t just turn up and defeat the best teams, you have to do it against everyone to finish first.”
Hornchurch concluded their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 victory over Billericay last Friday with David Knight and Ricky Freeman both scoring braces at Aveley’s Mill Field ground.
McFarlane added: “I’ve been so impressed with James Morrish and Kenzer Lee and George is a talented young player.
“All three will get better and better during the season. I’ve brought in Ayrton Coley from Cheshunt and still got a couple of trialists floating around.
“We’ve also got last years squad and people like George Purcell, David Knight and Ricky Freeman. Nick Symons is still here as well and the back four have remained.
“Also we’ve got another lad called JJ Da Cruz, he was at Enfield before so that’s another good acquisition for us.”
Romford suffered a 4-1 loss at home to newly-promoted Harlow Town, but the real stuff starts now. They visit Waltham Abbey on Tuesday.