United cap­tain says boss was a big fac­tor in re­turn

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Corey Ea­ton-McKnight and Matt Lewis tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

MATTY Har­riott is happy to be cap­tain­ing Hayes & Yead­ing United this sea­son as the club is play­ing the brand of foot­ball he favours.

The 22-year-old first joined Phil Babb’s side in Novem­ber 2013 on a short-term loan be­fore re­turn­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2014 on another tem­po­rary move.

He ended the sea­son at Con­fer­ence Premier out­fit Welling and ap­peared to have made the move per­ma­nent fol­low­ing his re­lease by League Two’s Northamp­ton Town.

How­ever, the com­bat­ive mid­field ace knew ex­actly where he wanted to ply his trade this sea­son when things did not work out at Welling.

He said: “Play­ing week in week out helps you gain a rhythm and al­lows you to en­hance your game in dif­fer­ent ar­eas where you may not have been able to do be­fore.

“I was a free agent after my re­lease from Northamp­ton and it al­lowed me to seek some­thing else and have a lit­tle look around.

“It helps be­ing at a club where you’re wanted and liked by ev­ery­one there and know the faces.

“I get on with all the lads. Phil, Tris­tan [Lewis] and Del­roy [Pred­die], when I came here last year, were all coaches I as­pire to, play­ing the way I want to play.

“He [ Babb] has got tons of ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing played at World Cup level – you can’t ask for much more. That was a big fac­tor in me com­ing back. He helps with my game and gets ev­ery­one play­ing the right way and you’re learn­ing some­thing new from him on a weekly ba­sis. He plays the way that I want to play.”

Fol­low­ing his suc­cess­ful first loan stint at United last year, Har­riott was thrown into Northamp­ton’s rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle in League Two and gained valu­able first-team ex­pe­ri­ence.

But a new Cobblers man­ager came in with new ideas and Har­riott found him­self out of favour and look­ing for a move into part-time foot­ball.

Drop­ping out of the Foot­ball League is not as big a step down as you might think though, ac­cord­ing to the man him­self.

He added: “The dif­fer­ence be­tween semi-pro and full-time pro­fes­sional isn’t that much.

“The league is more phys­i­cal and stronger than I ac­tu­ally thought it would be – the op­po­si­tion we come up against some­times is full of qual­ity play­ers.

“Even at Hayes I’m shocked with the qual­ity re­ally.”

Hayes & Yead­ing and Har­riott en­joyed a week­end off due to their early FA Cup exit, but re­turn to ac­tion this Satur­day at home to high-fly­ing Bore­ham Wood.

Fel­low Con­fer­ence South side Weald­stone won 4-1 in a friendly match with Met Po­lice and will be in com­pet­i­tive ac­tion this week­end against lead­ers Bas­ingstoke.

Photo by John-Pa­trick Fletcher

QUAL­ITY: Matty Har­riott is en­joy­ing his foot­ball at Hayes & Yead­ing United this sea­son

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