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Urchins boss happy with plans

PUBLISHED: 10:30 02 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:30 02 June 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 images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Bridge Avenue manager discusses pre-season, relegation and playing at home

Hornchurch manager Jimmy McFarlane hasn’t had too much time to relax despite the football season finishing in April as Urchins have arranged various pre-season friendly matches.

The club announced six matches recently including a lucrative clash with League Two side Luton Town on July 28.

McFarlane revealed the Bridge Avenue outfit are hoping to play their annual fixture with West Ham at the start of August, but is happy with the six games in place so far.

Urchins start away to Essex Senior League side Ilford on July 11 before visiting another team from that division, Barking, on July 16.

Hornchurch then make the trip to Ryman North outfit Ramsgate on July 18 before facing local rivals and Ryman Premier teams Billericay Town at home and Canvey Island away on July 23 and July 25 respectively.

The clash at Bridge Avenue with Luton is currently concluding their pre-season campaign but McFarlane expects the match with the Hammers to be added.

He said: “You look forward to the break as a manager and then it doesn’t turn out to be a break at all!

“Where we were battling relegation it was hard to arrange friendlies where we didn’t know what league we were going to be in but we have some good local derbies.

“We might have one more – we are waiting for West Ham to give us a date and that is why we have left August 1 open.

“The Luton friendly came about through Hakan Hayrettin, the former Thurrock manager, who is a friend of mine and he was happy to bring a team down.

“Luton’s first team play Brentford that night but it is another game that will be a good test and it is a good opportunity for the players, they can raise their game and try to impress Luton.

“I know both the Barking and Ilford managers, especially Allan Fenn. We will play them on a 3G pitch and then Barking on their new surface so that will be good.”

McFarlane also reflected on Hornchurch’s relegation from the Ryman Premier last season and admitted the final two months of the campaign were crucial.

On a positive note he was pleased that the club would be able to play some friendly games at home during the summer.

Work on the floodlights at Bridge Avenue during the summer meant Urchins couldn’t play one home friendly and started their league campaign with eight fixtures away from home.

“I think it was a catalogue of mistakes that saw us relegated in the end,” added McFarlane.

“We didn’t score enough goals. Our goals against looked like being the thing that could keep us up but we probably gave as many goals away in the last eight weeks of the season as we had in the first half.

“Once you get down there and things don’t go your way it is hard to get out. We are where we are and I have taken my share of the blame and now I am determined to get us back up.”

McFarlane added: “It was a big loss not having any home matches in pre-season and you set the tone for the season in the first two months and we played all our games away. It is history now and we are just looking forward to playing some home games.”

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