Shock factor key as Harps prepare for life in the Premier Division

Shaun Lucien looks to get away from Connor Arnold. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Shaun Lucien looks to get away from Connor Arnold. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

Harpenden Town are warming up nicely ahead of their first season in Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division – and manager Danny Plumb believes they have the ability to cause plenty of shocks along the way.

Harps started with a 2-2 draw against high-flying neighbours St Albans City on Thursday before losing to another higher-placed league club in Potters Bar Town on Saturday.

Plumb said: “I think on our day we can cause some surprises and I’d love a good cup run but staying in the league is the aim.

“I’m talking to a couple of players but it’s difficult. We’ve always built very slowly. We’ve not had a load of money and not bought a lot of players.

“We’ve just tried to keep good local players but if we bring in two or three I’ll be happy. But we’ve already got the spine of a good side.”

While Plumb doesn’t take too much stock in results, the performance against City in particular gives a lot of credence to the notion of Harpenden being a tough nut to crack this year.

It took two stunning free-kicks to save Saints from the ignominy of defeat, the second coming with almost the last kick of the game.

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The boss said: “Pre-season has been difficult with availability and we’ve used the game as a workout.

“We’ve obviously raised our game to play against St Albans and I’m pleased. They haven’t scored from open play but they were two excellent free-kicks.

“And the plan before the game was to be compact and make it difficult and we’ve done that.

“We’ve also got bits of quality so if we can keep our shape in defence, we’ve always got a chance at the other end.

“But it is what it is. It’s a pre-season game and the boys got some miles in their legs. Even if we’d lost four or five-nil, we needed some miles in our legs.

“We’ve got to keep it going. There’ll be injuries and holidays, as there always is at this time of year.

“We’ve done it in steps. We’ve come sixth, fourth, then second [in SSML Division One] so we’ll just look to consolidate.

“But it’s the same formula as last year and we’re not going to change anything. We’ll keep playing, keep organised and be a proper football club.

“That’s been my big thing for the last three years and we’re nearly there.”