Cheltenham Town v Harrogate Town: 'Time is running out' to impress Simon Weaver
Harrogate Town's final fixture of 2020-21 represents a last chance for some of the club's soon-to-be out-of contract players to persuade Simon Weaver to keep them at Wetherby Road next term.
The Sulphurites chief rotated heavily for the visit of Cambridge United last week and was rewarded with a scintillating performance as the League Two promotion-chasers were seen off in a nine-goal thriller.
And Weaver plans to field a similar starting line-up at Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon, once again providing those on the fringes of his squad with a platform to impress, while trying to de-rail the top-of-the-table Robins' title push at the same time.
"It's exciting, it's not a dead rubber and we'll do our best to spoil the party," the Harrogate manager said.
"Our team will be as similar as it possibly can, very similar to the Cambridge game. We need to give these lads a go, we've got to make decisions on their futures only next week.
"It's a pressure situation for them, but they responded really well last Friday. They were superb and rightly received a lot of plaudits, so this time we’re expecting slightly more and they have to show they can deal with that pressure.
"It's definitely given us something to think about with one or two that are playing on Saturday because you never want to say 'right, that's it' without giving people a proper go.
“It is a last chance, you can't always have lots of time, time is running out.”
Brendan Kiernan was Town's star performer against Cambridge, netting a first-half hat-trick on what was his first start in more than three months, while Kevin Lokko gave a decent account of himself at centre-half before getting forward to net a dramatic late winner.
That 5-4 success was the club's second in four attempts, and if they were to make it three in five on Saturday then they could well prevent hosts Cheltenham from taking the League Two championship.
Michael Duff’s men are already assured of a place in League One for 2021/22, however they need three points on Saturday to ensure that they cannot be overtaken by second-placed Cambridge.
The Sulphurites make their long trip south 16th in the table, but knowing that victory in their final outing of their debut Football League campaign could see them end the season as high as 13th.
They will of course be expecting a seriously tough examination by the division’s best team - on paper.
Cheltenham have however only come out on top in three of their previous seven matches, and goals have been at a premium, with five of those games finishing 1-0.
Indeed, that was the scoreine that the Robins beat Harrogate by when they met back in February.