Brown loy­alty ‘a real boost’

Skip­per praised by boss for turn­ing down moves FOOT­BALL

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Tim Street tim.street@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.

Burgess

said: “Olly

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)

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