Harrogate Railway boss Mick O'Connell targets fast start to 2021/22 campaign

Harrogate Railway have their sights set on a fast start to the 2021/22 NCEL Division One season.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 9:50 am
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 9:53 am
Harrogate Railway beat Bishop Auckland 1-0 in their most recent pre-season outing. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

The Starbeck club kick-off the new campaign at home to Swallownest on Saturday (3pm) and manager Mick O'Connell says a positive result first up is important in terms of building early momentum.

"Making a positive start is crucial," O'Connell told the Harrogate Advertiser..

"We're looking for a win on Saturday. We're targeting between seven and nine points from the opening three games of the season.

Harrogate Railway manager Mick O'Connell. Picture: Gerard Binks

"Momentum is key. We need to get off to a positive start and then try and build from there.

"August is a big month for us. We have 11 league matches between now and the end of September and we know that if we're in a decent position at that stage then it sets us up to be challenging in and around the top five at Christmas - and that's where we are aiming to be."

The Rail head into this weekend's fixture in decent form having won three on the spin in pre-season, but will be missing a number of key players through injury.

"We probably won't see Rob Youhill until the New Year after he dislocated his ankle during the first game of pre-season," O'Connell added.

"Joe Chisholm needs an MRI scan on his shoulder. If it turns out to be a straightforward dislocation he could be back in weeks. If it's tendons etcetera then we're talking months.

"We're also missing Josh Hardcastle to concussion protocol and there's three of four others who have little niggles who could be a week or two away.

"So we are a bit light for Saturday, but I still feel we are in decent shape and it will just have to be a case of backs to the wall and getting on with it."