Alex Pattison believes Harrogate Town's new formation will bring out the very best in him

Alex Pattison believes that Harrogate Town’s new system will help to bring out the very best in him during the 2022/23 campaign.

By Rhys Howell
Friday, 29th July 2022, 7:46 am
Harrogate Town midfielder Alex Pattison scored eight goals and chipped in with six assists during the 2021/22 campaign. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town midfielder Alex Pattison scored eight goals and chipped in with six assists during the 2021/22 campaign. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites have been lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation during pre-season, with their influential 24-year-old midfielder generally operating as one of two number 10s, just behind the centre-forward.

Pattison enjoyed plenty of success last term while deployed in a more orthodox central midfield role, usually within a 4-4-2, and managed to score eight goals while supplying six assists.

But, the former Middlesbrough and Wycombe Wanderers man is confident that playing in a more advanced role will enable him to have an even greater influence on proceedings.

Luke Armstrong, left, and Alex Pattison celebrate the latter's goal during Harrogate Town's 2-2 pre-season friendly draw with League One Barnsley.

“I’ve played in the 10 position before,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser after netting against League One Barnsley in pre-season.

“We are playing with two 10s basically and it gives me a lot of freedom going forwards.

“Obviously I still have to do a job defensively, but it suits me quite well because this is more of an attacking role and that’s where I want to be.

“I still have to defend but the majority of it is attacking, that’s what I’m good at, that’s what I am here to do.”

Just as was the case last season during what was his first year at the club, the drive and dynamism of Pattison is certain to be key to Town’s hopes of hurting opponents.

Another crucial cog in the Harrogate machine is Luke Armstrong, Simon Weaver’s first-choice centre-forward.

And he too says he has been encouraged by the way the Sulphurites have been performing this summer in what appears to be their new shape.

“I do like it [playing as a lone striker] with two number 10s] because there’s a lot of energy in whichever two play as the number 10s. I’ve really enjoyed it,” the 26-year-old revealed.

“It gives me a break off the ball and a lot of opportunity when we have the ball to have a little bit more energy to be able to make more runs in behind and go and cause problems.

“The three in there, whoever it may be, we can all interchange our game and mix it up, which should cause a lot of problems for teams in our league.”

Armstrong ended 2021/22 as Town’s joint-top-goal-scorer, having netted 14 in all competitions, the same number as on-loan Sunderland winger Jack Diamond and one more than fellow forward Jack Muldoon, while Pattison was next with those eight strikes from midfield to his name.

This time around, he says he isn’t setting himself any specific individual targets and is just keen to help the club progress in the right direction and better last term’s 19th-placed finish.

“I just want to do as well as possible as a team,” he explained ahead of Saturday's League Two curtain-raiser at home to Swindon (3pm).

“We don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, but we want to improve on last year, which I believe we are more than capable of doing.

“Myself, I just want to keep scoring goals and help the team as much as possible.”