Haringey Borough boss confident of survival after boosting squad with new signings

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou is confident of survival and is hoping to be involved in the play-off battle next season after boosting his squad with a number of new signings.

Haringey finished top of the Essex Senior League in 2015 and were promoted to Ryman League Division One North – the highest level they had reached in their history.

They initially struggled, losing 12 of their first 17 league games and only winning once in that time.

However, they have now been victorious in three of their last four matches and are four points clear of the relegation zone, with at least one game in hand on all of the teams below them.

“We gave last year’s squad a chance to impress and we fell a little bit short to tell you the truth,” Loizou told the Broadway. “A lot of guys couldn’t commit to the demands of the new division so, about eight weeks ago, we decided to start changing the squad and improving it a bit and I think it’s showing in our results.

“It’s given everybody a little kick up the backside to say ‘we’re not just here to play every Saturday afternoon, but to try to do something’.

“If you look at my last squad our results always improved around January and February time, when I feel like I’ve given everyone enough of a chance and I sign new players and do things a little bit differently.

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“Hopefully next year we can get in and around the play-offs with this squad, if we manage to keep the players. We’ve just arrived in this division, I gave everybody a chance and I now know what it needs to get out of this division, and we’ll be working towards that from now onwards.”

Loizou added: “There’s no way we’re going to go down. We’ve played all the top teams and there are teams in the bottom half we haven’t even played yet, like Aveley and Witham Town, so I’m pretty confident – and we competed against the top sides.

“I remember a couple of good results against Cray Wanderers and Harlow Town (two goalless draws). We weren’t quite ready for Thurrock (a 3-2 defeat) and AFC Sudbury (2-0), who should walk away with this division. They’ve got the best side so far I think.

“Three go down and last year only the bottom team went down, but we’re not going to rely on that.”

Borough have signed two new goalkeepers, with Mikheil Kharshiladze arriving from Billericay Town and Andrei Stinca coming in from Tower Hamlets.

Right-back Anton Blackwood – who was formerly a youth player at Tottenham – has also joined Haringey, while centre-back Aaron Scott has made the switch from Redbridge.

Two former Barnet players have moved to Coles Park - Joe Tabiri and Ishmail Kamara, the latter an attacking midfielder who scored the only goal in Borough’s 1-0 victory at Barkingside in their last outing on December 28.

Central midfielder Scott Olumide Durojaiye – who has been on the books of Spurs and Norwich – is another new recruit, as is Ashley Taylor-Forbes, who can play in any attacking position.

The result is there have been fewer playing opportunities for a number of the players who secured Borough’s promotion last season, even though they are still on the books - and Loizou admits that has been difficult for him.

“Of course it is because I’ve had some of those players for about 15 to 20 years,” said the manager. “They’ve followed me around but they’ve reached the ripe old age of 37 to 40.

“If they were able to commit to training and travelling I still feel like they’d be good enough to play in this league, but they just can’t make that commitment.

“People like Darrell Cox, he can’t commit to training and he can only play once or twice a month, so if you’re looking for a bit of consistency it’s difficult. But hopefully there might still be opportunities to play a few games this season.

“Is more of a commitment required this season? I believe so. We’ve got games every Saturday or Tuesday. We were supposed to be playing away at Dereham Town tonight (Tuesday) – it’s been called off – and we would have had to leave at 3.30pm.

“This is the second time it’s been called off and players have to give notice at work. It’s got to be played again in the next four weeks so this is where it’s difficult, and that’s why we’re looking to get a few more youngsters.

“I’m trying to sign a youngster from Wingate & Finchley called Coby Rowe at the moment. We’ve got Macauley White and Jerome Martelli and they’re 17 to 19-year-olds. I’m hoping, once we reach the 42-point mark, that we can start throwing a few youngsters in and get them established for next season.”