Harleston Town prepared for another tough encounter against Framlingham Town
Framlingham Town have proven to be tricky customers for Harleston Town this season.
When the two sides met in February it was Framlingham that run out 1-0 winners, while last month’s reverse meeting saw Harleston pegged back before eventually coming out on top 2-1.
As a result, Harleston boss Nicky Howell is anticipating another closely fought encounter when his team plays host to the Castlemen in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North play-off semi-finals tomorrow (3pm).
“They’ve played a system with wing-backs and we didn’t deal with it very well,” said Howell. “Hopefully we’ll be more ready for it this time if they decide to go that way.
“They’re a decent team that is well organised. You can tell they’re a group of mates because they don’t roll over and they fight for each other.
“We won’t go into it thinking we’re the favourites and that we’ve got one foot in the final – we’ll treat them with the respect they deserve.
“It’s a one-off game but we’ve been in good form and we’re confident going into it.”
For much of the season it seemed that Harleston would not require the play-offs to secure a place in next season’s Premier Division.
They topped the table for large parts of the term, but Sheringham’s season-ending 11-game winning run saw them pip Howell’s side to the title and automatic promotion by two points.
It has left behind an air of disappointment, but Howell does not expect his side’s performance to be adversely impacted.
He said: “It’s disappointing not to win the title because we’d been top for a long time. It’s a blow but fair play to Sheringham, they went on an unbelievable run.
“That tinge of disappointment was always going to be there but we’re experienced enough and hardened enough to dust ourselves down and go again.”
Harleston will be without experienced forward Nathan Stone for the game due to suspension.
Howell added: “It’s a blow to be without him because he’s a goal threat and has plenty of experience.
“But he’ll be around, helping out behind the scenes so he still has a role to play.”