Harrogate Town chief to revert back to attacking mentality

Harrogate Town's Michael Woods
Harrogate Town's Michael Woods

Boss Simon Weaver has urged his Harrogate Town players to replicate Kevin Keegan’s famous Newcastle side and attack from all quarters.

Weaver admitted Saturday’s shocking 3-0 defeat at new leaders Solihull Moors “bored” him in the dugout.

Ahead of two pivotal Skrill North matches this week against high fliers Altrincham (Saturday) and Hednesford (Tuesday), the boss has instructed his side to play on the front foot.

He said: “Watching the game on Saturday, I was bored.

“We became predictable.

“We didn’t create chances, we didn’t pass the ball. There was no improvisation in the final third.

“The only way we can play is to attack and allow players to be brave on the ball.

“If it becomes more like a Kevin Keegan Newcastle team at our level, then so be it. I’m not going to be bored.”

New recruit Steve Mallory, signed from Skrill North rivals Bradford Park Avenue, made his debut against Solihull.

But it was Moors striker Omar Bogle who stole the show with two goals as Town failed to cope with his pace and athleticism.

And Town gaffer Weaver, who tried to sign Bogle last season, was full of admiration for his display.

Weaver added: “He’s a terrific player that higher league clubs are watching.

“I don’t think we were tight enough to him and he punished us.

“We underperformed. And when we did play, we went sideways.

“After a goal went in a few heads dropped. You can’t afford any heads to drop at this level.”

Altrincham will present their own fearful strikeforce at the CNG Stadium, with goal machine Damian Reeves and former Guiseley frontman James Walshaw leading the line.

But Weaver said his focus will remain on his forward line rather than worry about the opposition’s dangers.

And the gaffer has targeted four points from the two matches to make sure his team, currently ninth, are “sat in a good position coming into Christmas.”

“Let’s see how creative we can be,” he said.

“I would love a clean sheet because I’m a centre half but we are better when we have a positive mindset and throw off the shackles and play.

“We are better off when we are doing that because we have some creative talents.”

Dominic Rowe has been ruled out of both matches after twisting his ankle in Tuesday night’s West Riding County Cup 2-1 quarter-final victory over FC Halifax Town (full report page 91).

Captain Shane Killock remains a doubt after pulling up injured with a dead leg against Solihull.

But midfielder Michael Woods has returned to fitness and played 90 minutes on Tuesday.

Connor Sellars, son of former Leeds United wideman Scott, could make his debut after impressing during his spell at Harrogate Railway.

Weaver added: “If we play route one football and fearful football, we are going to be bored. The Harrogate fans are going to be bored and it’s a lottery to whether you’re going to win games.

“We have to be brave, push the fullbacks forward and get the ball down.”