No title talk as Railway prepare for biggest game in years

Toolstation NCEL Division One 

Harrogate Railway manager Mick O’Connell is aiming high but won’t discuss a potential push for the title

Mick O’Connell insists title talk is off the agenda as Harrogate Railway prepare to go into battle in the club’s biggest game in years.

In-form Railway welcome faltering contenders North Ferriby to Station View tomorrow and a win will throw the revitalised club right into the fight for top spot.

The Rail’ then face leaders Hallam next week and with six wins on the spin under their belts, expectations are rising.

However, O’Connell is keen to downplay the situation.

“I still do think (the title) is beyond us,” O’Connell told Non League Yorkshire.

“With the financial powers of other clubs; they can bring in players from Step 4 if they need to.

“We are what we are and we try and coach players and make them better.

“(If we were to beat Ferriby) it would leave us step closer to those play-offs spots.

“Title race, we’re not getting drawn into that at the minute.

“We still have to play Ferriby and Hallam and if you ask me at the end of the Hallam game I might have a different answer for you.

“But at the minute (the Ferriby) game is just another game and we need to pick up three points if we can.”

Wing wizard Rob Youhill in battle with Selby captain Ryan Gothard last Saturday. Picture: Craig Dinsdale.

Survival was the name of the game for several years until O’Connell took charge two years ago.

The ex-Jockey has completely transformed Railway’s fortunes and although O’Connell is avoiding the topic, they are clearly on the brink of muscling in on a title race.

But they will have to beat Ferriby, who have lost three out of their last four games which have caused them to lose top spot to Hallam.

The stakes are high.

“I personally don’t want to drawn into (whether it is one of the biggest games the club have had in years),” O’Connell said.

“I don’t want to think about that.

“Of course it is a big game.

“Inside we’re looking at it as another game, outside obviously it is a big game for people around the club.

“Ferriby are a good side, they have good players and they can turn a corner at any minute.

“I’m hoping we can get them next week where they’re still not completely at it.

“If there is ever a good time to play it is now but is there ever a good time to play North Ferriby?”

Marcus Day on the attack for Railway

Railway are in the best possible form having dispatched Parkgate, Swallownest, Worsbrough Bridge, Glasshoughton Welfare, Ollerton Town and Selby Town since the beginning of December.

Goal machines Joe Crosby and Marcus Day have received the most plaudits but O’Connell says the form has been down to a collective effort.

“The forwards always get credit because they score goals and people look at games and think they’re always the best players,” he said.

“Defensively we have been brilliant.

“In the last six (league) games we have scored 18 and conceded three and kept four clean sheets.

“The two boys in midfield have been excellent.

“(Goalkeeper) Joe Wilton has really come on this year and come to the fore.

“He’s matured and his game has improved.

“I think all round it is hard to pick (a star man from the last month) as all the players, including the squad players, have been brilliant.”

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