Harrogate Railway good enough to beat anyone, insists Mick O'Connell ahead of difficult run of games

Mick O’Connell has reiterated his belief that Harrogate Railway are good enough to beat anyone in NCEL Division One on their day.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 2:56 pm
Updated Friday, 27th August 2021, 2:58 pm
Joe Navier goes to ground under pressure from an opponent during Harrogate Railway’s NCEL Division One victory over Glasshoughton Welfare. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

The Starbeck club have begun 2021/22 in promising fashion, winning two and drawing two of their opening five matches, but have an extremely challenging week ahead of them.

They visit top-of-the-table Selby Town on Saturday, then travel to North Ferriby United in midweek before entertaining Hallam. And although he is expecting three difficult encounters, the Rail boss insists that his players shouldn’t fear any of their opponents.

“We’ve got a tough week coming up because we’ll be playing three strong sides, three clubs with massive budgets by comparison to ours,” O’Connell said.

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

“These teams will be among the favourites to go up this season, but we have a squad that can compete with anyone. We shouldn’t fear any other team in NCEL Division One because, on our day, we can beat them all.

“Selby this weekend is a really big game, they’re top of the table for a reason. But, they dropped points in midweek and although they have scored an awful lot of goals, they’ve also been conceding plenty too – they haven’t kept a clean-sheet yet.

“So we do think that we can go there and create chances if we take the game to them. We’re confident because we have players at the top end of the pitch who are a threat. It will come down to whether we can keep things tight at the back.”

Having seen his side concede three times in the second half of last week’s defeat at Worsbrough Bridge and throw away a 2-0 interval lead, O’Connell was encouraged by the shut-out Railway managed during Saturday’s 1-0 win over Glasshoughton.

“I was chuffed to bits with the clean-sheet,” he added.

“The goals we conceded at Worsbrough Bridge, we were weak defending set-pieces, which isn’t like us.

“But the message before the Glasshoughton game was the same as it always is. I want us to be hard to break down, we need to be solid because clean-sheets win you leagues.

“We’ve got plenty of players who can create chances going forwards, but it doesn’t matter if you’re scoring lots of goals if you’re leaking them left, right and centre at the other end. We soaked up a lot of pressure on Saturday and I want to see more of that.”

Jacob Robertson scored Railway’s winner against Glasshoughton, slotting home the loose ball on 37 minutes following a save by the visiting goalkeeper.