Harrow Borough boss targets FA Cup run
PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 September 2016
The FA Cup was a virtual non-starter for Harrow Borough last term, but manager Steve Baker is hoping for an extended run in the competition this time, and a cash boost that could aid the club’s league campaign.
Borough were ousted from the lucrative competition by neighbours Northwood in a first qualifying round replay last August and finished a disappointing season in 17th place in the Ryman League Premier Division.
Baker feels that, despite the potential for a fixture pile-up, a few good performances in the cup could secure a financial windfall that might help his side up the table.
He told the Times: “I would want nothing more than to get a good FA Cup run. Obviously we want to do well in the league, and a good cup run would help the budget.
“Every manager will come out on Saturday saying how important it is to the club financially. We’re fortunate to be well run and don’t spend beyond our means – a lot of people put in a lot of hard work and their own money.
“This is a chance for the players and the staff to make their task a little bit easier and if we were to get through two or three rounds, the rewards are very big for clubs at our level – even to get through Saturday is worth £3,000.”
Borough host Essex Senior League outfit Sawbridgeworth Town in the first qualifying round on Saturday, and Baker will be taking nothing for granted, despite their opponents’ lower league status.
“Again this year, on paper, we’ve got a favourable draw but to me that means nothing,” he said. “The bottom line is we need to make sure we are on it on Saturday.
“The problem is that they are one-off games and you see it at every single level where lower teams knock out teams above them out.
“We’ve told the boys we’ll be well prepared – they’re not doing too well in the league but they’re in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup so they must be doing something right.
“We know it will be a tough test but if we’re on it 100 per cent, we’ll have a good opportunity to progress.”
Borough’s Ryman League Premier Division campaign continued with a 3-1 home win over Leatherhead on Saturday, after a hat-trick from Ibrahim Meite, followed by a goalless draw at Enfield Town on Bank Holiday Monday.
It leaves Baker’s side with a record of two wins, two draws and two losses – the definition of an average start. The manager said: “If someone had said to me we’d be 10th with eight points on the board after six games, I probably would have taken that.
“I don’t think our performances are up to speed just yet and I think that’s a mixture of it being early in the season and one or two new players bedding in as well.
“We’ve also had two or three key players missing through injury so I don’t think that’s helped.
“We’re working really hard on getting the defensive side of things right as last year we went through a period of conceding two or three goals every game and you’ve got no chance of winning anything.
“The main target for us is 50 points as quick as we possibly can and then we’ll see what happens from there, but it’s just about improving on last year really.
“You have to be realistic. If we could get ourselves around the mid-table position as the season goes on, that’s something I would be comfortable with.
“You never know, come January or February, where that might be able to take you.”