Ryman North: Hornchurch boss Jimmy McFarlane back his 'chasers' it title push
PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 March 2017
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Urchins want win to put pressure on leaders Brightlingseas Regent, who they trail by nine points
Manager Jimmy McFarlane says Hornchurch’s match at home to Cheshunt in the Ryman North on Saturday is another chance to pile the pressure on leaders Brightlingsea Regent.
With just nine games left for Urchins, the Bridge Avenue club are nine points adrift of leaders Regent.
While Hornchurch entertain the Ambers this weekend, Regent face a tough match at home to Thurrock, and McFarlane knows his side have to claim all three points to keep the pressure on their title rivals.
“We have to keep putting the pressure on Brightlingsea, keep our good form up and be ready to pounce if they slip up,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s better to be the chasers as there is no pressure on you and everyone who plays Brightlingsea in the next few days will raise their game because they are playing the leaders.
“It’s looking like a really tight title race and at this stage, it looks like it will go right down to the wire.”
Urchins will want in-form attacker Leon McKenzie to keep up his good form too this weekend, having notched his fifth hat-trick of the season in a 3-0 win at Heybridge Swifts last weekend.
However, they may soon be able to call on all-time club leading goalscorer George Purcell to call on having been out with injury in recent weeks.
And though this weekend’s clash with Cheshunt may come too soon for Purcell to feature, McFarlane is happy to have a player of his quality back for the run-in.
“We could have done with George earlier in the season, but I suppose now is the next best time to have him back,” he added.
“We now have Martin Tuohy to call on too and he is still one of the best natural finishers I have seen in non-league football.
“Having those players coming into contention for selection in the next few weeks will only be a good thing for us.”
Since losing 2-0 at Thurrock at the start of January, Urchins have since gone on to pick up 25 points out of a possible 27 to reinvigorate their hopes of winning the title this season.
Though there are only a further 27 left up for grabs and with a gap to bridge to Brightlingsea, there is a small glimmer of hope that Urchins may be able to pull off a remarkable title chase.
And with that in mind, Urchins boss McFarlane says he does not matter how his team win, just as long as they continue to do so over the course of the run-in.
“It’s about picking up points at this stage in the season and we know all we can do is keeping winning matches.
“We have to keep plugging away and we’ve had a good season all things considered, especially with the injury crisis we had earlier in the campaign.”