Brown loyalty ‘a real boost’
Skipper praised by boss for turning down moves FOOTBALL
The Chestnut Avenue club have received a seven-day approach from Ryman Premier side Harrow Borough for the former Oxhey Jets defender.
But unlike Michael Murray and Omar Vassell, who have left the club in recent weeks, Brown has stayed put to help the Wood’s Southern One Central top five bid.
Burgess said: “Steve staying was a real boost for us. He wants to see it through with us, and that’s what you want from your captain.
“We’ve come close to the playoffs a few times since I’ve been here but never quite had the squad to make it. We’ve still got to play a lot of the top teams, so it’s a matter of staying with the pack.
“If we can keep picking up points and stay healthy we can do it, but we do have a thin squad.
“Other teams with more money have more depth, but when injuries and suspensions kick in we struggle.”
The form book is certainly with Northwood. They have only lost one of their past 12 games, and Saturday’s 3-0 derby win at Uxbridge saw them do the league double over their neighbours.
Burgess says it gets harder each season to hold onto key players, and one of the first ones he lost, Oliver Hawkins, last month signed pro forms with Dagenham & Redbridge.
deserves it. I only had him for one season and tried to keep him, but it was always clear he would play at a higher level.
“It was always obvious he would go onto better things and he’s got the talent to go even higher. He’s a good example I use with our players to show them where hard work can take them.
“Players like Nico Muir have a lot of people looking at him, and if he keeps working hard and scoring he could make it too, but it’s hard for the club to replace players like that.”
The result left Northwood, who host Ware this Saturday, two places and four points off the play-offs, and Uxbridge, who visit Egham, marooned in mid-table.
Meanwhile, AFC Hayes, relegated from Southern One Central last season, continue to struggle in the Combined Counties Premier.
A late Guildford City equaliser denied them a first win in seven games on Saturday and leaves them floundering in 15th. They were due to host Epsom & Ewell last night (Tuesday) and welcome Windsor on Saturday. HAREFIELD United boss Jason n Shaw (pictured) is confident his side can still stay up, despite still being rooted to the bottom of the Spartan South Midlands Premier.
The Hares were left with pretty much no squad last summer when most of last season’s team followed previous boss Phill Granville to Hanwell Town.
New manager Jason Shaw, a former West Ham junior who also played for Redbridge, Dartford, Harrow Borough, Hampton & Richmond, Boreham Wood and Wealdstone, was left with a huge rebuilding job and it took until October for them to record a league win.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Stotfold, in which Luke Baldwin bagged the winner, was only their second since then and fourth all season, bringing a run of nine straight defeats to an end.
Although they are still bottom, Harefield are now just three points off the two teams directly above them, Oxhey Jets and Bedford, and five off fourth-bottom Colney Heath, who they play on Saturday. They were also due to play Cockfosters last night (Tuesday).
Shaw said: “With the squad we have got together now, we can definitely stay up.
“My contacts are higher up the leagues, so we’ve got players in who have played at a higher level, and if we had the squad we have now all along, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in.
“There were no players when we took over, so it was a struggle from the start, but we keep working hard and building.
“Anything we get off the top teams is a bonus, but we’ve still got to play all the teams around us and as long as we win those games, we 100 per cent believe we will survive.”
The Hares do not need to look far for inspiration.
Neighbours Hillingdon Borough were relegated to Division One last season and struggled to recover, currently sitting 16th in the table.
Although Boro have won their last two games, they have only played once in 2016 and only three times since the start of December.
They were due to play Staines Lammas in the county cup last night (Tuesday) and will host Broadfields United on Thursday and Baldock Town on Saturday.
n THIN SQUAD:SQUAD St Steve B Brown (right)( i ht) is i not following in the footsteps of the departed Oliver Hawkins (above)