Years of hard work are paying off now, says Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou. Pic: Tony Gay

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou. Pic: Tony Gay - Credit: Archant

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou says the club are reaping the rewards of years of hard work as they bid for promotion in Ryman League Division One North.

Loizou arrived at Coles Park during the 2008-09 season, taking over a side that were battling relegation in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division.

But Borough survived, and they went on to earn promotion in 2015. Now, in only their second season in the Ryman League, they are lying one point outside the play-offs.

Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Dereham Town was their third win in a row, and Haringey are the second-highest scorers in the division, having notched 77 goals in 34 games.

“I’m at a club where I can trust the chairman,” Loizou told Ham&High Sport. “I arrived nine years ago and I couldn’t get Sunday players to play for us, let alone Saturday players.

“But credit to the chairman [Aki Achillea] – he’s developed the facilities and we’ve got a new clubhouse and dressing rooms and, as of this season, an artificial pitch.

“We’ve been able to attract better players and we’ve now got a few on contract. I’ve been able to sign two players who were released by Colchester. They come because of the facilities and my staff – every training session’s interesting – and the play on the pitch is second to none.

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“All the hard work that the chairman, my staff and I have put in, we’re reaping the dividends now. I’ve got a quick, powerful side and we’re well organised.

“The problem now is bigger clubs are looking at our players – there’s been interest in Adrian Markus. Every week we’re getting scouts and managers here looking for juicy deals – it’s like Sainsbury’s!

“I think players see this as a club where they can develop. We’ve got an Under-21 side now and next year we’ll have an Under-18 team. It’s not luck, it’s not happened overnight and it’s taken a lot of work.

“We’ve got a very good squad and I think we’re 80 per cent of the way there. If we can improve by that extra 20 per cent I think we could hold our own in the Conference South.”

Loizou will take on his former club Cheshunt this Saturday as the league’s sixth and seventh-placed teams go head to head in a crucial clash on White Hart Lane.

Haringey will also be raising money for the Royal Marsden Hospital at the match in memory of Kim Mawby, who lost her battle with breast cancer two years ago after being well looked after at the facility.

The club will be doubling the money that is raised on the gate, with tickets being priced at £7 for adults and £3 for concessions. Under-18s will enter for free.

Chairman Achillea said: “We chose a game against a local rival. It’s a big match, Cheshunt will be bringing their fans and we’re hoping for the biggest gate of the season. It should be a great day.”

Meanwhile, Hendon have enjoyed a good week in their Premier Division relegation battle, having picked up four points from a possible six – including a draw against the leaders.

While the Dons remain inside the bottom four, Gary McCann’s side triumphed 2-1 away against basement boys Grays Athletic on Saturday and then tied 2-2 with pacesetters Bognor Regis Town at home on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Wingate & Finchley’s 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions was ended by a 5-1 home defeat against local rivals Enfield Town on Saturday, with Ben Pattie scoring the Blues’ solitary goal.

It leaves Wingate four points outside the play-off spots – and they went on to suffer a 2-1 loss at home against Metropolitan Police in the quarter-finals of the London Senior Cup on Tuesday night.