Football: Town prepare to enter the Shay ahead of busy week

NADV 1303028AM8 H'gate Town V Histon. Picture : Adrian Murray. Dominic Knowles.  (1303028AM8)
NADV 1303028AM8 H'gate Town V Histon. Picture : Adrian Murray. Dominic Knowles. (1303028AM8)

Harrogate Town face a hectic six days as their season ending fixture congestion ramps up a gear.

Town will battle against former manager Neil Aspin tonight as they travel to play-off rivals FC Halifax Town in a rearranged fixture (kick-off 7.45pm).

Simon Weaver’s squad then welcome table-toppers Chester FC on Saturday (3pm) before Hertfordshire club Bishop’s Stortford trek 180 miles north on Tuesday (7.45pm).

Town fought past full-time outfit Histon 2-0 on Saturday thanks to goals from Tom Platt and Dominic Knowles.

But their winning run came to an abrupt end on Tuesday evening when relegation-threatened Colwyn Bay stunned the CNG Stadium with a 2-1 smash and grab victory.

The defeat meant Town fell out of the Blue Square Bet North’s play-off zone but a win tonight would move them back up to fifth.

Town boss Weaver hopes Danny Forrest will be fit for the trip to Fax.

And striker Paul Beesley could make his long-awaited return at the weekend.

Ahead of the match, Weaver said: “I don’t think anyone will expect us to get anything from the Halifax or Chester games.

“We can go and play with freedom and have a go.

“We have opened up every team recently with the attacking threat we pose.

“I think we will do well and do a professional job. We don’t need to be defensive.

“We can set up more to counter attack and use our threats on the break.

“We think Halifax will be a top team. They have invested in forwards and they score goals for them.

“You look at their attacking talent and think great, but we have good defenders too.

“We have to be clever and allow them to play in areas that don’t hurt us.”

The defeat against Welsh side Colwyn Bay was Town’s first in six games and Weaver said his team deserved more than Knowles’ second-minute strike, Paul Bolland hitting the crossbar.

“It was a frustrating night,” he said. “I got the stats at midnight after the game and we had more possession than in any other game this season.

“It looked like it could be one way traffic but they broke twice and scored. Perhaps the winger got through a bit too easily and no one gave him a welcome-to-Harrogate.

“Things just conspired against us. We had wonderful chances to score.We did everything but put the ball in the net.

“We played worse when we won 6-1 at Corby.”

The victory against Histon was Town’s second clean sheet since December 19. Man of the match Craig MacGillivray had to be at his very best between the sticks.

After the game Weaver reserved special praise for his number one.

“He pulled off a couple of great saves. He has a cat-like style about him, he hangs in the air,” the boss said.

“He seems to claw away danger. He just gets on with his job. You worry all the attention he is getting might affect him but it certainly didn’t.”

Weaver rejoiced in the news York City loan signing Platt would remain at the CNG despite an attempt by his parent club to take him back.

City wanted Platt to return so new manager Nigel Worthington could run the rule over him. But league rules state players cannot be recalled from a loan within 28 days of moving.

The young midfielder, who has scored three in four in his third spell at the club, played on Tuesday evening after training with City in the morning.

“Credit to Tom, I couldn’t do that,” said Weaver. “It is fantastic to have him back.”

Blue Square Bet North

Top Ten pld pts

1 Chester 32 85

2 Guiseley 29 66

3 Brackley 30 62

4 FC Halifax 25 53

5 Altrincham 30 51

6 Harrogate Town 27 49

7 Gainsborough 28 49

8 Bradford PA 30 47

9 Solihull Moors 30 43

10 Worcester 31 41