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Harper in the frame for Poole visit

Winger O'Brien also back in action ahead of clash with old rivals

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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James Harper - on call for Poole game PICTURE: JASON DAWSON

HUNGERFORD TOWN will have new boys James Harper and Sam Williams and the returning Alan O’Brien all in the frame for Saturday’s visit of old Southern League rivals Poole Town.

All three came through Tuesday night’s Berks and Bucks Senior Cup win at Wantage Town to join the squad that won 2-1 at Concord Rangers in its previous Vanarama National League South outing, but with no guarantee of dislodging anybody from that side.

“We had a brilliant result at Concord,” said manager Bobby Wilkinson, “and no-one’s let themselves down in training since.”

Former Reading midfelder Harper’s arrival adds more experience to the squad, and he played different roles at Wantage, in front of the back four in the first half and behind the front line in the second, while young centre back Williams has arrived from Ryman League Metropolitan Police and have a polished display.

And Wilkinson is delighted to have former Irish international winger O’Brien back after six months with a hernia injury. “It’s like having another new signing,” he said. “He was quick and sharp and only tired a little at the end, but that’s not surprising in his first game back,” he added after the Wantage game.

Poole and Hungerford have had some ferocious battles over the years, and Wilkinson expects more of the same. “We’ve been going toe to toe with them for years and though it’s not a derby, it feels like one for the clubs, managers and players,” said Wilkinson.

Poole went down 3-1 at home to Oxford City last week but, said Wilkinson: “They had a wobble, but I don’t take any notice of that. It happens to us all and it doesn’t make you a bad side overnight.

“They’ve still had a brilliant start and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready and worry about ourselves.”

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