HARWICH and Parkeston boss Kieron Shelley believes his players can enjoy a pressure-free end to the season - despite being in the thick of the promotion race.

The Shrimpers are fourth in Thurlow Nunn League first division south and breathing down the necks of the pair in front, White Ensign and Halstead Town.

There are only four points between the three teams and, at face value, it promises to be a tense, nailbiting finale.

However, Shelley says his players should enjoy the challenge without the burden of pressure, given the way they have already over-achieved this term.

"We're happy and don't feel any pressure whatsoever," he said.

"Why would we?

"We're not supposed to be in this position.

"It's far more than we ever anticipated at the start of the season so we're in a lovely position where we can go out and enjoy it.

"It's still wide open, certainly from second place downwards, and we're feeling positive.

"We'll take each game as it comes and see where it takes us.

"If we win, we celebrate. If we lose, we learn from it.

"Next year might be a different story, especially if we finish this year strongly.

"Expectation levels around the club - from the management and players to the supporters - will undoubtedly go up and rightly so.

"But at the moment I don't see it that way.

"There are no nerves and this is an experience to savour and enjoy.

"The main thing is that we're nowhere near the bottom half of the table.

"Anything else we achieve this season is a bonus."

Harwich make their long-awaited return to the Royal Oak on Saturday for a match against Frenford.

They have had five straight away games and their last home match was back on January 12.

Ironically, after this weekend, the Shrimpers' following two matches are also away against Tendring neighbours Brightlingsea Regent Reserves and Holland FC.

They had no match last Saturday

"Although I generally hate weekends without football, it was nice to have a little break," added Shelley.

"I felt we needed it after losing our previous game, against Coggeshall United (4-1, on February 16).

"We didn't do much wrong in that match, despite the scoreline.

"We went behind early on and weren't switched on at the start, which rocked us onto the back foot.

"But after that there wasn't much between the sides.

"They were very effective on the break and one of their goals came from a desperate clearance after we'd hit their bar.

"It wasn't as though we were outplayed or undone by good football.

"Coggeshall took their chances but, overall, it was a real ding-dong affair and a great game to be involved in.

"I never mind losing if we know where we've gone wrong and learn from the experience.

"We're not beating ourselves up and being too hard on ourselves, just because we've had a couple of defeats against two very good sides.

"We learn from them and move on."