Search

Hendon boss gives Green light for play-off challenge ahead of Ryman League opener

08:00 07 August 2014

Hendon manager Gary McCann. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Hendon manager Gary McCann. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Archant

Hendon manager Gary McCann is targeting the play-offs as the Greens prepare to kick off their Premier Division campaign at home against Bury Town on Saturday.

Former Hendon captain Scott Cousins has joined the club's management team. Pic: Andrew AleksiejczukFormer Hendon captain Scott Cousins has joined the club's management team. Pic: Andrew Aleksiejczuk

Last season, the Dons were the form team during the middle two-thirds of the campaign, but they will be looking to improve on their record at the start and finish and consistency will be the keyword for the manager as he aims for a place in the top five.

“The play-offs are a reasonable target, and we have to get the players to buy into it,” said McCann, who will complete a decade in charge of the club in February. “There is a strong belief in the camp that it can be achieved.

“The start of the season is key for us, as it is for every team. The players are fully aware of it and we left ourselves too much to do after the poor start [last season].

“One of the reasons we fell away at the end of last season was the amount of effort we spent playing catch-up, and niggles and injuries caught up with us. But I honestly believe that this group of players can achieve the play-offs.”

Hendon have endured much turmoil since McCann took charge, losing their Claremont Road home in 2008 and then spending four full seasons at Wembley. This is the second at Earlsmead, the home of Harrow Borough.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel since new director Rob Morris came on board in February this year.

Hendon will now be running more than a dozen youth teams, based at what was Kingsbury Town’s old Silver Jubilee Park ground – which Morris part-owns and is currently being refurbished to include a 3G playing surface.

The plans are for it to be the Greens’ regular training base and, hopefully, a regular home some time in the future.

On the field, most of last season’s squad have agreed to stay on, but the Dons have lost Jack Bennett, Michael Bryan, Anthony Thomas, Berkley Laurencin and earlier departure Jefferson Louis.

Coach Junior Lewis has also left to take up the same role with Leeds United in the Championship, being replaced in the management team by former club captain Scott Cousins, who joins McCann, his assistant Freddie Hyatt and sports therapist Mark Findley.

Cousins will be registered as a player but, having missed most of last season through injury, he has concentrated on the training side in pre-season and will play only in an emergency.

Incoming players include strikers Kezie Ibe and Richard Worrell – who has moved across north London from Haringey Borough – as well as midfielders Peter Dean, who is returning for a second spell at the club, Tom O’Regan, Andre Da Costa and Sam Murphy.

The Dons’ defence was a source of strength for most of the last campaign and there has only been one addition to the rearguard.

Ollie Sprague was dually registered in 2013–14, making his debut in April – and he joins Chris Seeby, Casey Maclaren, James Fisher, Elliott Brathwaite and Sam Flegg in the back line.

Captain Kevin Maclaren will anchor the midfield with Lee O’Leary, who has had an excellent pre-season, while Dean, Tony Taggart and Michael Murray will operate further forward. The Greens also have Max McCann in midfield and the versatile Dave Diedhiou, who can fill in at full-back and in the centre of defence.

It will be tough for Hendon to replace the 43 goals that they have lost with the departures of Thomas and Louis.

However, Ibe, Leon Smith, Aaron Morgan and Adam Wallace have plenty of experience in the Ryman Premier League and new signing Worrell was prolific at the end of last season for Haringey Borough in the Essex Senior League.

In goal is likely to be youngster George Legg, who is currently an apprentice at Championship club Reading. He has played in most of the games during pre-season and would be on loan from the Royals.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Sport Stories

Erik Lamela (left) scored the winning goal but Ryan Mason (right) limped off injured

Tottenham extended their winning run to three games after earning a 2-1 home win over Burnley and moved into the top six in the Premier League.

Yesterday, 15:51
Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has Emmanuel Adebayor available for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley as Spurs look to carry the momentum of the midweek thrashing of Newcastle.

Thu, 23:46
Hendon striker Leon Smith (right)

Hendon manager Gary McCann is hopeful that the club’s ‘pay what you want’ game against Wingate & Finchley on December 27 will attract local football fans down to Earlsmead.

Nabil Bentaleb (right) celebrates his first goal for Tottenham in Wednesday's 4-0 victory over Newcastle in the Capital One Cup quarter-final. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Nabil Bentaleb achieved another landmark at Tottenham this week, scoring his first goal for the club a year after his debut - and the Algeria international believes Spurs can finish in the top four this season.

Most read sport

And they have a role to play in saving their species.

Twinkle, twinkle you little stars – thanks for making your homes so festive.

Offers for university places are at a record high.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition