Keeping it together

“Comings and goings are part of the game,” Dave Anderson acknowledges, but the Harrow Borough manager’s immediate task is to keep the goings to a minimum.

Dewayne Clarke agreed to join Kingstonian before Anderson’s appointment, and the new boss may also have to contend with the departure of full-back Ryan Watts, who was watched by a host of League clubs last season and is having a trial at Barnet.

But possibly the biggest challenge Anderson faces is the prospect of several players following his predecessor David Howell to St Albans,

Centre-back Tobi Jinadu and winger Danny Hart are currently training at Howell’s new club, and others may follow in the wake of Friday’s friendly against Premier League new boys QPR.

“I’m not here to break up the group. I want to keep it together.”

“There was always a chance David would take players there. Him doing that is nothing new – I’ve done it myself when I’ve moved clubs,” Anderson admitted.

“Those lads (Jinadu and Hart), I believe, want to go to St Albans. They are registered with us, so there is going to have to be a conversation.

“We’ll see what develops now the QPR game has gone. They all wanted to play in that game – QPR was some carrot to dangle – and what happens now, in the next few days, will tell us a lot.

“I’m not here to break up the group. I want to keep it together. They’re a happy group and my job is to try to keep it that way.”

Without influential striker Rocky Baptiste – another player “on the missing list,” as Anderson put it – Borough acquitted themselves well against a QPR side that included several members of their promotion-winning team.

Rangers won 1-0 but never looked comfortable, giving Anderson reason to be cheerful ahead of the new season.

“Those matches can be a worry because there is always a chance that a side as good as they are will thrash you,” said the former AFC Wimbledon boss.

“You’ve got to be brave enough not to worry about that – and we were. The players’ application has been good, which is great to see.

“It was a tough game for me to start with but it worked out well for us in the end. We did well and for a spell in the second half had them pinned back.

“It was great for the club, great for our players and fans, and great for QPR as well because we play in a real QPR area.”

And Anderson knows that area well. He has served Borough as a player, coach and now manager, and lists North Greenford and Southall among his many previous clubs.

A former Northern Ireland youth international, the 49-year-old also has a connection with QPR. He met his wife at the wedding of Loftus Road legend Alan McDonald and is also an old friend of ex-R’s winger Ian Stewart. Both men encouraged Anderson to enter coaching in the mid-1980s.

His association with Borough stretches back almost as far, hence Anderson’s willingness to leave Slough Town and fill the void left by Howell’s exit.

“There’s people behind the scenes here that I’ve known for 30 years,” Anderson pointed out.

“When that happens, nobody can fool each other. I can’t fool them and they can’t fool me. That’s the beauty of it really. It’s great to be back.”