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Airbus UK Broughton: Craig Harrison backs his players to handle ‘Super 12’ pressure

CRAIG Harrison is backing Airbus UK Broughton to keep their cool in the red-hot race for a Welsh Premier League ‘Super 12’ place.

For the first time in their top-flight history the Wingmakers are no longer going into the majority of their matches with the underdog tag around their neck such is the steady progress they have made under their former Premier League star boss.

But with that comes added expectation and Harrison does not deny it would represent a major underachievement if his 10th- placed side failed to qualify for next season’s slimmed-down competition by not finishing in a high enough league position.

Airbus are in possession of one of the prized top-10 spots but failure to take three points from Saturday’s visit of third-from-bottom Porthmadog to the Airfield (2.30pm ) would leave them looking over their shoulder.

“It’s been a very progressive year for us as all of the sudden we are now favourites to win games,” said Harrison, who will be without the suspended Ashley Williams and the injured Rhys Roberts against Port.

“Sometimes it’s easier to be a team down at the bottom than have the pressure of being a team at the top that is expected to win.

“I’ve been through both. I was part of a Crystal Palace team that avoided relegation on the last day of the season and also played in a Middlesbrough team, with the likes of Paul Merson and Paul Gascoigne, that were going for promotion to the Premier League. With Palace we were concentrating on not getting beat, but to actually go and win the game, like we were expected to do at ’Boro, is a different type of pressure.

“My players are feeling that now but I’m sure they can handle it.”

Airbus, who head to fifth-placed Bangor City on Tuesday (7.30pm), came from behind to draw 3-3 at Newtown on Saturday with goals from Carl Owen (2) and Marc Lloyd Williams.

A crowd of more than 500 braved the icy conditions to watch Sweden beat Wales 5-0 in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at the Airfield last Wednesday.