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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Harvey hopes for repeat performance from Barrow against Luton

ALEX-RAY Harvey would love nothing more than a repeat of Barrow AFC’s last clash with Luton Town at Holker Street.

HARVEY NICKS IT Alex-Ray Harvey celebrates his one and only goal for Barrow – the winner against Luton last term (and inset) being mobbed by team-mates REF: 50030174B016

The 22-year-old midfielder struck the winner in the corresponding fixture of the 2011/12 campaign to help the Bluebirds rise to within four points of the Conference play-off places.

It was Harvey’s first goal for the club and meant Barrow broke their duck against the Hatters in non-league football.

The midfielder – known more for his tidy passing and industry rather than his attacking threat – has not been on the scoresheet since, but would love for history to repeat itself tomorrow.

The circumstances may be different – AFC are embroiled in a relegation battle rather than in the mix for the play-offs – but the importance of getting something from the game against the Bedfordshire big guns remains the same.

“It seems ages ago, but I’ve good memories of playing Luton at home,” said Harvey, referring to the 1-0 win last February. “We were on a roll at the time and it was an important result. Hopefully we can get another little run going now when we need it.

“My goalscoring is something I’d definitely like to improve in my game, and score more goals, but I’m happy to help the lads out and stay on a winning run.”

Harvey helped Barrow reach the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night with their 3-2 victory over Gateshead, earning a trip to Gainsborough on Tuesday. But while the prospect of reaching the semi-finals and a two-legged clash with Wrexham is an exciting one, the ex-Burnley man knows the priority remains moving up the Conference table.

The 2-0 league win at Newport a fortnight ago and the addition of striker Danny L Rowe – who scored on his debut in South Wales – and centre-back Danny O’Donnell, has certainly instilled fresh belief in the squad that they can drag themselves clear of the mire.

Harvey believes that improving Barrow’s wretched home form is key to their survival chances. Dave Bayliss’s side have won just one of their 12 league games at Furness Building Society Stadium so far, and Harvey said: “We need to improve our home form if we are being honest.

“We’ve got to play some of the teams around us in the league at home, so it is vital we start picking up more wins.

“I think we can really turn things around and start winning at home, similar to last season when we had a great home record.

“And it’s good that we are strengthening the squad as well. We need to do that because we need to get out of the situation we are in, and it will keep everyone fighting for their places and improving everyone’s game a little.”

After two wins on the trot, Harvey feels the squad can be quietly confident the improvement in home league results start tomorrow. Luton thrashed AFC 6-1 at Kenilworth Road three weeks ago and will still be on a high after their FA Cup giant-killing act at Norwich last weekend, although they did crash out of the Trophy 3-0 at Grimsby in midweek.

But Harvey said: “I think we’ve got a chance against anyone at home. We’re in the same position as we were when we played them away. They were on a high after beating Wolves (1-0 in the FA Cup third round) and now they’ve just beaten Norwich.

“But we’ve won our last two games, so we are high in confidence and we go out there with the belief we can beat anyone.”

Harvey described his winner against Luton – a nice finish from the edge of the box after a neat one-two with Paul Rutherford – as the ‘biggest goal’ of his career. Maybe he will change that view if he is on target in a Barrow win tomorrow. But the unselfish, fetch-and-carry midfielder will be just as happy if one of his team-mates grabs the glory.

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