‘If needs must I’m happy to roll up my sleeves and get dirty’ – Harvest boss Steve Harris
Harvest boss Steve Harris will be keeping his boots at the ready for the remainder of the L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup.
The 38-year-old, who took over managerial duties back in November after Ray Ogilivie's departure, had an unexpected run-out in his side's 4-0 group 7 defeat to Denmead on Tuesday.
Harris was forced to play the final 20 minutes, replacing the injured Bobby Read who has been ruled out for the rest of the Hampshire Premier League Cup competition.
The injuries are racking up for Harvest, with Read awaiting an X-Ray on his swollen ankle while Mitch Cowan aggravated a knee problem in training ending any hopes of being involved in the tournament.
Harris initially entered the cup competition with just a squad of 20 to choose from, yet he's down to 18, himself included.
The Welshman, who featured regularly prior to taking over as manager, insists he has no problem 'rolling his sleeves up' for the team.
And it looks as though he could be using himself again in Harvest's remaining four group 7 matches - starting with a trip to HPL Senior Division side Paulsgrove on Saturday (1pm).
Harris said: 'Ideally as a manager you don’t want to be playing.
‘I played every minute of every game before I took over as manager so it’s not as if I’ve not done it.
'It’s looking that way now (playing again in the competition).
‘The boys have asked me to play before, they’ve said I should carry on playing, because I was playing well before I stopped.
‘I’m quite vocal on the pitch so I need to step away and they need to do it themselves.
‘If it’s needs must then I’m happy to roll up my sleeves and get dirty, it’s no problem.'
The midweek defeat to Denmead at Front Lawn leaves Harvest sitting on three points after two games in group 7.
Although his team voted against the competition, Harris says the upcoming matches are important.
With a host of new additions lined up to join in pre-season, he told his players to grab the chance to show why they should be part of the first team squad next term.
Harris said: 'We’ll be competitive because we want to win every game.
‘The boys know that of the players I’ve got available to me now, they know they’re fighting for their place for next season.
'With the new players I’ve got coming in, we’re training together already.
'Everyone knows there is quality coming in so you’re fighting to show they can get in the team next season
'We’ve got a reserve team next year so it’s up to them whether they want to be in the first team or the reserves - that’s what it comes down to.'
Both teams had a man sent off on Tuesday - Elliot Spencer picking up Harvest’s second red in four days for a second bookable offence. Jay Kane had previously been dismissed in a 1-0 win over Clanfield.
Denmead also ended up a man short after Callum Trevaskis was sent off for a late challenge on Read.
Kieron Hammond opened the scoring on 34 minutes and skipper Steve Field stabbed home a Danny Lucas free-kick at the back post just before half-time.
With Harvest down to 10, Danny Lucas made it 3-0 and the scoring was completed when Jacob Arend converted a penalty.
Additional reporting by Paul Proctor.