Harpenden suffer from the ‘poisoned chalice of third’ but confidence still high

Harpenden Town manager Danny Plumb.
Picture : Karyn Haddon

Harpenden Town manager Danny Plumb. Picture : Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Danny Plumb believes Harpenden Town have been the victims of their own success after enduring a difficult summer.

They astounded some and delighted others as their first season in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division ended with them coming third and claiming the Dudley Latham Memorial League Cup.

But that just put them on the radar of clubs higher up the non-league pyramid and saw players like Connor Samson, Sam Jenkins, David Keenleyside and top-scorer James Ewington make the step up the levels.

“It’s the poisoned chalice of coming third,” the Harpenden manager said ruefully. “Coming two points off getting promoted has killed us. It’s certainly not helped us.

“We’ve come to everyone’s attention and the players have come to everyone’s attention too.

“Looking back it’s almost the worst position we could have come.”

But despite the outgoings he is delighted with those players who have chosen to stay with the club as well as those who have made the move to Rothamsted Park.

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He said: “We’re still ok, we’ll still be fine.

“Teams have come in and taken some of our players but we’ve recruited well and we’ve got some new players still to come in.

“Training has been fine and we’ve got some really good development players.

“From where it was four years ago, the club is on a fantastic footing.

“The committee have been brilliant and in my head it has always been about the five year plan and this is the fifth year for me.

“The whole aim was to be a consolidated Premier League side and as I’ve said before, a proper non-league side.

“That’s my aim for the end of the season.

“It’s going to be difficult but we’ll be competitive and organised and we’ll be ok.

“And we’ve got a lot of players like James Yates, Matt Sutton, Harry Hunt still to come back.”

They started their competitive season with a 2-0 reverse to Hadley on Tuesday night but Plumb has his focus firmly on Saturday’s opening SSML fixture at home to Leighton Town.

He said: “There were some pleasing things. We need to work on the sharpness, but that will come, and obviously the new players have to get used to the way we play and to each other.

“I’m disappointed we’ve lost as I don’t want to lose anything but it’s not the end of the world, Saturday is the important game.”