Eastleigh v Harrogate Town: Crunch time for Weaver's men
Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver has admitted that how his players perform over the festive period could well go a long way to shaping the rest of their season.
The National League high-flyers will play four fixtures in the space of just 11 days, starting with the near-500-mile round trip to Eastleigh on Saturday.
Halifax Town then visit the CNG Stadium on Boxing day, followed by AFC Fylde on December 29.
New Year’s Day will then see Weaver and his troops tackle Halifax away from home.
“Because you are playing so many games in such a short space of time, you can find yourselves in a great position when you come out the other side of Christmas,” he said.
"There is an opportunity to accumulate points very quickly if we apply ourselves.
“There’s a lot to play for and we’re so keen to do well.
“We’ve made such a positive start to the season and we want to continue that, but we’ve got some really tough fixtures and of course they come thick and fast.”
Weaver’s team recorded a comfortable 4-0 success over Eastleigh when the sides met at the CNG Stadium on September 1, substitute Mark Beck coming off the bench to bag a second-half brace.
The Spitfires have improved as the season has gone on, however, and now sit ninth in the National League standings.
Their previous league outing ended in a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Wrexham, but prior to that loss they were unbeaten in seven matches, an impressive run that saw them take points off both Leyton Orient and Salford City.
"Eastleigh will certainly be a different proposition to the side we played in September," Weaver added.
"They've a new manager since Andy Hessenthaler moved on and their results have been good in recent months.
"Having watched them on video I know that they're versatile in the way that they operate. Whether they play three at the back or go 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield, they'll be a threat.
"It's another tough game, but we've been good on the long away trips this season and we go there confident."