New Harrogate Railway manager Mick O'Connell confident that Starbeck club can beat the drop

New Harrogate Railway boss Mick O'Connell believes that there is more than enough time for him to drag the club out of the NCEL Division One relegation zone.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:17 pm
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:21 pm
Mick O'Connell is the new man in charge at Harrogate Railway. Picture: Caught Light Photography

The 33-year-old Irishman became the Starbeck side's ninth managerial appointment in the last three-and-a-half years when he replaced Des Macorison last week.

Relegated from the Evo-Stik League at the end of 2015/16, the Railwaymen have been in steady decline ever since.

Three seasons of struggle in the NCEL Premier Division followed before they eventually fell through the trap-door into Division One.

And although there were some signs of promise under Macorison during the early stages of the current campaign, Railway have been in free-fall from the moment that star striker Joe Jagger was lured away by Brighouse Town in October.

They currently sit second from bottom of the pile, staring demotion to step seven of the footballing pyramid in the face, yet O'Connell is confident that he is the right man to finally turn things around at Station View.

"I'm under no illusions as to the size of the challenge in front of me, but there are plenty of games left," he said.

"It’s a tough gig, there’s no doubt about it, however what we need to do is take things game by game.

"Having watched a number of the teams in this league, I do believe that we should have enough to stay up.

"I'll be looking to bring in some extra quality, but probably the most important thing is that we start getting the basics right.

"I was asked by the chairman to come in and help Des, and during those matches I saw how easy to play against this team was. We need to become much harder to beat and stop giving away so many silly goals."

Upon taking over at Railway, O'Connell moved swiftly to bring Harrogate Town youth team coach Josh Walsh in as his number two.

"Josh is a brilliant coach and he has a big part to play," added the ex-Nottingham Forest and Celtic trainee.

"It's not just all about me, I couldn't do this on my own, so I'm pleased to have Josh alongside me.

"I've got a very good relationship with both him and Town's under-23s manager, Josh Falkingham, so I'll be looking to use these links to try and bring in some good young players, who can really help us out."

O'Connell and Walsh's first opportunity to try and narrow the 10-point gap between themselves and safety comes on Saturday, when the Rail entertain 12th-placed Parkgate, 3pm kick-off.