AFC Fylde v Harrogate Town: Simon Weaver wants players to relish biggest game in club's history

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has told his players to ensure that they don't wake up with any regrets on Thursday morning.

The Wetherby Road outfit will contest arguably the biggest game in their history on Wednesday evening when they visit AFC Fylde in the first round of the National League play-offs.

Their prize, should they win the midweek eliminator, would be a semi-final clash with Solihull Moors and the chance to play at Wembley for a place in the Football League.

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"Last season the play-off semi-final with Chorley was the biggest game in our history, then it was the final against Brackley. Now, when you put this one into context, this is the most important because of what is at stake," Weaver said.

"This a huge match, it's massive. We're two wins from Wembley and what is important is that we relish the occasion and embrace it.

"I genuinely think that we will do. Nobody wants to look back at this game on Thursday morning with regret because we didn't give it everything.

"Let's not be timid. We need to do ourselves justice. We had no right to think at the start of the season that we would be in this situation, but we are here in the play-offs on merit and we must take advantage."

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Town ended the regular season one place and seven points behind Fylde in the National League standings and are without a win against the Lancashire outfit in nine attempts.

The last time that Weaver's men beat the Coasters was the first meeting between the clubs, back in National League North in February 2015.

This season's clashes between the sides saw them play out a goalless draw at Mill Farm in August, before league top-scorer Danny Rowe's controversial late penalty handed Dave Challinor's team a 2-1 victory in North Yorkshire.

The clubs also have previous in play-off matches, with Fylde edging a 2-1 aggregate success over two legs in the division below in May 2016.

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And although Town are undoubtedly overdue a result against Wednesday's opponents, Weaver insists that they will have to earn one in a match that they begin as second favourites.

"It's easy to say that we are due a result against Fylde, but we need to earn one. A good performance won't be enough. It's do or die and we have to win the game," he added.

"Outside the Football League, it doesn't come much tougher than Fylde away, however when you're the underdogs there's less pressure.

"They're a very solid outfit with a very real goal-threat, but we just need to be positive in our approach. I want us to go out and play with freedom.

"I don't think there will be much in the game. It's going to come down to who turns up on the night."