Improved options in final third will drive Harrogate Railway on, says Mick O'Connell
Mick O'Connell believes that increased competition for places among his forwards will drive Harrogate Railway on to better things.
The Starbeck club are beginning to show signs of consistency, Tuesday night's 4-1 win at Teversal making it three victories in their last four NCEL Division One outings.
Joe Crosby was the star of the show in midweek, bagging a hat-trick to take his tally to five goals in his last four matches.
But strike partner Marcus Day also registered his first goal since re-joining the club earlier this month, while Adam Shaw netted during Saturday’s 3-2 FA Vase loss at Cleator Moor Celtic.
And, with former Liversedge and Worksop Town forward Rhys Davies having this week put pen to paper on a deal at Station View, O’Connell suddenly looks spoilt for choice in the final third.
“The last few weeks we’ve been creating loads, but our strikers haven’t been confident and they’ve been snatching at chances,” the Rail chief said.
“Joe Crosby couldn’t score, but now he’s got five in four. That’s what it’s like for centre-forwards, they just need that first one to go in. I think Marcus has been a bit lacking in belief as well, but he’s got one the other night, while Adam Shaw scored on Saturday.
“So, that’s positive for us. As a manager you want your forwards scoring and now we’ve got them all in a bit of form and there’s real competition for places, particularly with Rhys coming in as well.
“That’s what you need to make you better. If one of those lads isn’t playing, they know they’ve got to work harder and do better to get in the team and that can only drive us on.”
On the capture of Davies, O’Connell added: “He offers something that little bit different to what we already had.
“He has the pace to run in behind and he’s also one who will run at defenders
"We are delighted to get Rhys over the line, he comes with great pedigree and is a proven goal-scorer at this level."
Railway, who host Nostell Miners Welfare on Saturday, exited the FA Vase at the second qualifying round stage at the weekend, though O’Connell wasn’t too unhappy with what he saw from his players against Cleator Moor.
“I thought Saturday’s performance was good. I thought we deserved more out of the game,” he reflected.
“Two penalties, two really soft penalties swung the game in their favour, but credit to the lads, it wasn’t a disappointing performance, but a disappointing result.”