Sporting Hackney boss believes title push is still possible

Sporting Hackney won the league and cup double at county level last season

Sporting Hackney won the league and cup double at county level last season - Credit: Archant

Waterlogged pitches obliterated any hopes of football being played on Hackney Marshes last weekend – but it will take more than a bit of rain to submerge Sporting Hackney’s push for promotion this season.

Sporting are in the midst of a purple patch after a 5-0 thrashing of British Airways FC helped them claim their eighth victory in nine outings in all competitions a fortnight ago.

That has added to the growing sense of belief that the club can fight on multiple fronts this campaign, with a League Cup semi-final and Anagrams’ Trophy quarter-final on the horizon.

It remains a tall order for the Parrots, who currently lie ninth, to claw back the points deficit to those above them in the Middlesex County Premier League.

But with up to eight games in hand on the eight teams above them – caused by a growing fixture back-log – manager Pete Harrington believes it is possible.

“We’re really starting to look like the force we were last year,” Harrington said of his side, who won a league and cup double in 2014.

“We’ve been in this position before, where we had to play lots of games towards the end of the season, but if we win all our games in hand we’ll be around fourth.

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“That would be good enough, because we’re competing against four other teams that applied for promotion. As long as we finish above them and in the top five, we’d go up.

“We’re looking like a team that can progress to that next level. Our ambition is to become a step five club – ideally in the Essex Senior League.”

In what Harrington described as a “near-perfect performance” against British Airways, a double from Jon Green and further strikes from captain Sam Edwards and centre-half Chris McNicholas gave Hackney a commanding lead at the break.

Kev Monahan completed the 5-0 rout in the second half, allowing Hackney to open up a six-point lead over 10th-placed South Kilburn.

Harrington is due to take his side to face Deportivo Galicia at the weekend, hoping to overcome a psychological barrier against their Osterley-based bogey team.

A busy spring schedule lies ahead, but Harrington is not concerned about the energy levels of his squad.

“We’re lucky because we’ve got about 19 first-team players and our reserves and Under-21s mean we’ve got excellent cover, so I’m not worried,” Harrington added.

“Our goalkeeper from last year, Peter Connor, has returned to the club after missing the season so far through injury and work commitments, and his clean sheet against Airways was just as pleasing as the five goals we managed to score.

“We’ve got a tough game coming up in the Anagrams’ Trophy, but you’ve got to beat the best in order to win it. We beat the holders in the last round and we now play Belstone FC from the Hertfordshire Senior League, who are top by a country mile – but we’re playing really well and I’m confident we can win.”