HARWICH and Parkeston boss Kieron Shelley believes his club have a great chance to showcase their progress under the Royal Oak floodlights on Friday night.

The Shrimpers are expecting a bumper crowd for the Thurlow Nunn League division one south derby against Brightlingsea Regent Reserves (kick-off 8pm).

Harwich are seventh in the table and champing at the bit after a free weekend without a game last Saturday.

“(Assistant manager) Mike (Wallace) and myself are loving life here and we feel the club’s heading in the right direction,” said Shelley.

“Now we’re looking forward to a big night on Friday.

“Our crowds have been excellent and we’ve been getting anything between 120 and 140.

“But I’m hopeful we’ll get 150-plus for the Brightlingsea game.

“It’s a local derby and both sides are well supported, so hopefully the public turn out for what’s got the making of a really good game.

“On paper, people will probably expect us to win because we’re seventh and they’re bottom.

“But anything can happen in a match like this and we’ve tended to struggle against the lesser sides.

“It’s another banana skin.

“We switch off too easily but it’s something we’re working hard to change and we feel we’re turning a corner.”

In the absence of a first-team fixture last weekend, Shelley watched Harwich’s reserves beat Tiptree Jobserve A 2-1 in the Essex and Suffolk Border League.

“There’s a really good crop of young players coming through,” he said.

“Some of those boys have been playing together for ten years, since they were six or seven.

“To see them now playing men’s football is brilliant and it’s very healthy for the club, going forward.

“It’s worth remembering that not so long ago that was unimaginable here.

“Harwich barely had a first team, let alone a reserve side and youth system underneath.

“Now we’re riding on the crest of a wave and want it to carry on as long as possible.”