GREAT Harwood Town boss John Hughes has hailed his young guns following Monday night's victory over Nelson.
New boy Nicky Hand scored the only goal of the game, although Paul Mashiter and James Dean both hit the woodwork.
The Robins boss said: "I don't want to take anything away from Nelson, but they didn't create that many chances and we deserved the win. We could have been three or four up and we hit the post twice."
"It was a good local derby and we defended from front to back and played really well. Dean Lord, who is only 16, was outstanding. I have had a lack of strikers since Christmas when Matty Derbyshire went to Blackburn and John Eastham had a knee operation."
"I have been listening to the radio and hearing the whingers saying we need some experience as well but we can't be that bad if we are in the top dozen teams."
The win followed Harwood's goalless draw on Saturday against Winsford during which Hughes was shown the red card for arguing with the referee. He explained: "Their players kept taking out Sam Tope on purpose. Their right back took him out first and then he switched over and the left back came in and took him out again. I had a go at the referee because as a manger you have to protect your players but he wouldn't caution them. I had to take Sam off at half-time. In this league the referees and linesmen are pathetic, but you just have to get on with it."
Harwood have nine games left to play this season and Hughes said: "To be in with any chance of promotion we have to win seven, but I would be very happy if we can win them all."
"Formby, Flixton and Ashton are saying they won't be able to go up because their grounds are not up to a certain standard. Our mission is to keep getting points and see where we end up."
"There are some hard games coming up and this league has been tight all year. Colne played Oldham and lost so teams at the top don't necessarily beat the teams lower down."
Harwood are in action away at Ashton on Saturday (KO 3pm) and then have a home clash against Blackpool Mechanics on Monday night (KO 7.45pm).