Hampton to splash cash in survival bid

Filling the void: Hampton chairman Steve McPherson will loosen the purse strings to replace injured striker Joel Ledgister

Filling the void: Hampton chairman Steve McPherson will loosen the purse strings to replace injured striker Joel Ledgister

First published in Football Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Hampton & Richmond Borough chairman Steve McPherson has thrown his weight behind boss Mark Harper and will put his money where his mouth is.

The Beavers were held 0-0 by Maidenhead United on Saturday as they cling to their Blue Square South status and are at Weston-Super-Mare tomorrow.

McPherson has calculated Hampton need 13 points from 10 games to survive the drop and has opened his chequebook to help Harper bring in a striker and a midfielder for the run-in.

A season-ending injury to Joel Ledgister and upcoming suspensions for Dean Inman and Dave Tarpey have left Hampton short on quality.

And the Station Road chief has told his manager he will back his judgement – if he can afford to.

“We have a crucial run of games coming up, but we are aware of the fact we have injuries and suspensions to key players to cope with,” he said.

“We’ve found some extra funds and told Mark to go and find the players he needs. Then we’ll see what we can afford.

“In the scheme of things we only need to find the money for a few weeks and if that keeps us up then great.”

McPherson appointed Harper in the summer as successor to Alan Devonshire, who took the team to two Blue Square South play-off final appearances during his tenure in charge.

The current Beveree manager has taken the Beavers to an FA Trophy third round appearance and the Middlesex Senior Cup final, but is struggling for form in the league.

Hampton have only lost four of 16 league and cup games since the beginning of January, but crucially have only won five and drawn seven.

But McPherson insisted Hampton cannot be made fools of in April, when back-to-back home clashes with Salisbury City, Welling United and Basingstoke Town are key.

“We got 42 points last year and stayed up and that is not out of the question this time around,” he said.

“There are three home games in April that are crucial and I think if we can get seven points from those, we will be OK.

“We don’t want it to go down to the final day of the season, but if it does we will have to deal with that.

“Considering the budget we had last season was double that of this, Mark [Harper] will have done a superb job if we stay up.”

And if they don’t?

“When we appointed Mark it was the start of a three-year plan to preserve the long-term future of this club at this level. Mark has committed to that and we have committed to him,” he said.

“He has changed our style of football to be more attractive to watch and is bringing the youngsters through.

“He is the right man to manage this club and will be here whether we are relegated or not.”

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