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Harrow and Hendon primed for step into the unknown as life in new division beckons

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 August 2018

Hendon boss James Gray during his time in charge of St Albans City Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Hendon boss James Gray during his time in charge of St Albans City Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Robert Walkley

In an article from our Kick-Off pullout, we look ahead to the new Evo-Stik South Premier South season for Harrow Borough and Hendon

Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Harrow Borough manager Steve Baker (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The summer has seen plenty of change for Harrow Borough and Hendon as they prepare for life in a new division — the Evo-Stik South Premier South.

The pair had been members of the Bostik Leagues for many years, with the Greens losing last season’s Premier play-off final to Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.

However, as a result of the FA’s decision to add another league at step three of the National League system, they have been transferred across to the Evo-Stik South Premier South.

It means that rather than gearing up for trips to Wingate & Finchley or Haringey Borough, Harrow and Hendon instead have journeys to Tiverton Town and Merthyr Town to look forward to.

There will be a host of new opponents for both sides this season, and new Hendon boss James Gray believes there are some differences between their new division and the Bostik Leagues.

“We’re at a step on the football pyramid where there are good teams in all divisions, but I find the Evo-Stik South Leagues to be a bit more physical than the Bositk Leagues,” he said.

“There’s also a lot more teams based in big towns or cities in the Evo-Stik South Leagues, which means there are more teams with good budgets.

“If we’re not strong enough in terms of physicality, we may struggle, but I’m confident we’ll be strong enough.”

Harrow boss Steve Baker, meanwhile, hopes life in a new division marks the start of a successful chapter in the club’s history.

“In the Bostik Leagues, we had this tag of perenial struggles because we were always in the battle to stay up, and that’s something I want to leave behind,” he said.

“It wasn’t enjoyable being involved in that, but I believe we can leave it behind this season because of our form in the last three months of last term.

“We finished 11th, which was as high a finish the club has managed in several years, but I’m not going into the changing rooms telling the squad that we should be aiming for that again.

“I’m hoping that we can put together a good season and challenge for the play-offs because we’re a good enough squad and it’s about time we did as a club.”

Time will tell just how both Hendon and Harrow find the going in a new division this season.

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