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Harleston Town looking to bounce back in top-of-the-table clash with Sheringham

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Harleston Town are preparing for their second top-of-the-table clash in a matter of weeks – and boss Nicky Howell is hoping his side can put the previous disappointing result behind them.

Thurlow Nunn League First Division North leaders Harleston were beaten 1-0 at second-placed Sheringham on October 23 – a result that cut their advantage at the summit to six points.

Sheringham, who are heading to Wilderness Lane for the reverse fixture tomorrow (3pm), will have the opportunity to cut the gap further with their two games in hand.

Match action from Harleston's 3-3 draw with Diss on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Match action from Harleston's 3-3 draw with Diss on Saturday. Picture: Mark Bullimore

However, rather than be concerned that momentum is with their opponents, Howell believes it is a positive for the return meeting to have come around so quickly.

“I think it’s a good thing to be playing them again so soon,” he said. “That game is fresh in our mind, we know all about them now and what their threats are.

“They deserved to win that day. It was probably the only time this season when we have struggled to get going.

Harleston manager Nicky Howell. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Harleston manager Nicky Howell. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“We improved in the second half but by that time it was too late because they had shut up shop.

“It’s not like us to be that ineffective going forward and I think we’ll be better this time around.”

Going into the encounter, one area Howell is keen to see some improvement is towards the back end of the pitch.

Harleston had the best defensive record in the league up until recent weeks, since when they have shipped six goals in three games – including Saturday’s 3-3 draw with neighbouring Diss Town.

In the trio of games prior to that, they kept three clean sheets.

Howell said: “It’s been one of those things recently. Against Needham Market (3-2 win) we were three-up and then took our foot off the pedal

“It’s a little bit of a game management thing and we’ve spoken about it.

“Maybe we’ve got a few tired legs as well because injuries have meant we haven’t been able to change things around, but there’s no doubt we need to put it right if we’re going to stay where we are.”

Read more: Abbott steps down as joint Harleston boss

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