Boss Andy Harrison convinced Nelson are safe after seeing off Shelley midweek

Nelson manager Andy Harrison (left) with skipper Ash Brierley
Nelson manager Andy Harrison (left) with skipper Ash Brierley
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Two wins from two has reassured Nelson manager Andy Harrison that his side are on their way to securing their place in the Hallmark Security League First Division North.

Nelson brushed aside Shelley 4-1 at The Stafflex Arena on Tuesday night in their first game since a 2-1 win over Garstang last month.

Gareth Hill cancelled out a Craig Billington’s penalty just before half time, while Harvey Macadam put the Admirals ahead 71 minutes in.

Ashley Brierley and Rory Kelly extended Nelson’s lead in the closing 12 minutes to give them their first win on the road since Boxing Day.

They remain in 16th place in the table but Harrison is confident the players have put a difficult run of results behind them, and he now wants to strengthen the squad to launch a bid for the top six next season.

“Slowly but surely we’ve got rid of the lads that were just there for the sake of being there,” he said. “Now we’ve got a squad that wants to win every game, no matter where it is or when it is. They’re as hungry to win as I am, if not hungrier. They’re in it for each other.”

Harrison believes his side are two more wins away from safety but is confident that the final 11 games of the season can bring the Blues more than that.

Beyond securing Nelson’s place in the First Division North again next season, Harrison is keen to anchor down his squad and build some stability. The squad’s been very unsettled for the last two or three years,” he said. “What we’ve got now is a squad that we’re more than happy with, and it’s about keeping these lads together.

“If we can do that, then come next year we’ll have a really strong team. I want to be competitive next year but at the right end of the table.”

The weather prevented them from hosting Carlisle and Prestwich Heys last week, but Harrison is confident Nelson’s training programme will mitigate against any loss of game time.

Before their enforced break, Nelson were able to halt a five-game winless spell at Victoria Park.

Nelson’s defeats in January came against some of the top sides in the league, but Harrison is keen to focus on winning points from the teams around Nelson at the other end of the table.

He said: “We’ve set our stall out and we want to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season.”

Away from the league, Nelson are preparing for a Macron Cup quarter-final against Avro on February 16th.

Mark Sleightholm