Bostik North: Tom Loizou hoping Haringey Borough get rub of the green this time in play-off semi-final with Heybridge Swifts
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 May 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
The Coles Park boss looks ahead to this evening's battle with old foes Heybridge Swifts and discusses Canvey Island's recent activity
Tom Loizou is hopeful luck will be on Haringey Borough’s side when they take on Heybridge Swifts tonight in the Bostik North play-off semi-final at Coles Park.
The two clubs have met on three occasions this season and all three contests have had an equal amount of drama and tension.
The first meeting was all the way back on October 14 in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup and Swifts won 4-2 at Haringey to reach the first round proper.
Heybridge and Borough battled again on December 5 in the Bostik North and this clash was abandoned late on with the score goalless and the result was left to stand.
The most recent encounter saw Haringey go three goals ahead on March 24, but Swifts eventually hit back to claim a 3-3 draw.
Since letting a three-goal lead slip, the Coles Park club have won eight consecutive games in the division, but Loizou isn’t getting ahead of himself just yet.
He said: “I don’t want to be too confident because like I keep telling people it is all about what happens on the day.
“First of all you need strong officials, secondly you need your team to turn up and play and the rest normally takes care of itself.
“A little bit of luck during the game can help like Heybridge had last time. It seems like they have had all the luck in the last two games we’ve played them, so when is it going to turn?
“Hopefully it will be the play-off semi-final because Heybridge are not a better side than us.”
Loizou went on to explain how he believes Haringey would have won the title had they not been hit with a large amount of injuries and suspensions close to Christmas.
There was a time when Borough were without Valery Pajetet, Lawrence Yiga, Ramil Sheriff, Jorge Djassi-Sambu, Ruaridh Kay, Joe Benjamin, Jamie O’Donoghue and Ralston Gabriel plus many more.
A number of those players should start this evening and it shows the quality the north Londoners were without at a crucial period of the campaign.
“You can argue on their day Heybridge are quite capable of beating us, but I had 14 injuries during a crucial time of the season, over Christmas, and that’s what has cost us automatic promotion,” said Loizou.
“I think we are stronger than Hornchurch, Potters Bar Town and anyone. On our day, I think we are the strongest team in the division, but to have 14 injuries in the space of six to eight weeks has cost us promotion.
“Now you have teams like Canvey Island signing (East Thurrock United’s) Sam Higgins, who was top goalscorer in the National League South, just for the play-offs, so there should be a ruling against that, but there you go.
“It is legal, but shouldn’t be allowed. To play in the play-offs you should have played a certain amount of league games whether it is one, two, three, four or five.
“I don’t think you can be allowed to bring someone in because if I wanted to I could go and knock on Mauricio Pochettino’s door and ask for Tottenham Hotspur’s best under-23s and win it that way.”
Haringey won’t be doing that, but with most of their key players available, they will aim to show their class this evening and potentially in the final on Sunday.