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Great Harwood double bid

GREAT Harwood boss John Hughes knows a big three days lies ahead for his NWCL Division Two side.

GREAT Harwood boss John Hughes knows a big three days lies ahead for his NWCL Division Two side.

They make the short trip to Division One side Ramsbottom in the League Challenge Cup quarter-final on Saturday (ko 3pm).

And then they need to halt their run of three successive league losses by defeating bottom club Castleton Gabriels at home on Monday night (ko 7.45pm).

Harwood lost 2-1 to second placed Formby on Saturday and Hughes knows his side need to get back on track.

"The cup is a big game for us as we are still in two cup competitions and would like to get to the final of at least one," said Hughes. "It is all about one the day and we know if we play well, that we can beat Ramsbottom. We have the players to do it, it just depends how they all perform on the day."

Hughes was without several regulars for the Formby game with Paul Mashiter, Darren Rodgers, Andy Taylor and skipper Ryan Parr all missing. However Sam Pope did fire them ahead in the fifth minute with a right foot volley. "It was good considering he is a left-footer!" said Hughes.

However, Harwood's Russell McKenna saw his penalty saved before the break and after that Formby came back. "They got a dubious penalty - the ref said it hit James Coonan's hand but we all felt it was harsh," said Hughes.

Harwood, though, will hope for a league win against Castleton although they did lose to another team who were struggling, Chadderton, a couple of weeks ago.

"Chadderton had a new manager and some new players and they had improved. But we have got to make sure we get a good win over Castleton.

"It is a shame as since Neil Zarac joined us we haven't been winning - he thinks he has brought bad luck to the side. But I keep telling him it isn't him - he has made a difference and has played well - we just need to get some confidence back as we still have five or six games in hand on some teams."


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