George Thomson insists that Harrogate Town have nothing to fear ahead of first-ever EFL campaign

Harrogate Town fear nobody heading into their first-ever League Two campaign, according to Wembley hero George Thomson.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 10th September 2020, 7:38 am
Updated Thursday, 10th September 2020, 7:44 am
George Thomson scored one and set up another in Harrogate Town's National League play-off final triumph at Wembley. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
George Thomson scored one and set up another in Harrogate Town's National League play-off final triumph at Wembley. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The National League play-off winners take their EFL bow at Southend United on Saturday and will make the long trip down to Essex full of confidence and belief.

Having qualified for the play-offs three times in as many seasons and secured two historic promotions in the process, Town came into 2020/21 with genuine momentum behind them.

A strong showing and penalty shoot-out upset at Tranmere Rovers in the first-round of the Carabao Cup on Saturday only served to boost confidence further, as Simon Weaver’s men proved that they are good enough to compete with one of the bookies’ favourites for promotion out of the fourth tier.

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George Thomson in action during Harrogate Town's Carabao Cup clash with Tranmere Rovers.

Tuesday night’s EFL Trophy trip to Grimsby Town then saw the Sulphurites recover from two goals down to snatch a draw late on, meaning that they have tasted defeat just once in their last 18 competitive outings - winning 13 of those games.

And, having developed the winning habit, Thomson says that he and his team-mates are going into every match expecting to do well.

“Everyone is full of confidence and we’ve got every reason to be,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“There isn’t a game you could put in front of us at the minute where we’d go into it and feel like we couldn’t put on a performance.

“I think that’s just the feeling that you get without it being spoken about. You walk into the dressing room and you get that feeling. It’s a great place to be at the minute.

“It’s good to be winning games. It’s a good habit to have and we just seem to be finding ways to win - even via penalties [at Tranmere].

“It’s great to have that momentum behind us and hopefully we can take it forward now into the league. Games are coming thick and fast, but that’s what you want when you’re on a good run.”

Town’s immediate priority is trying to beat Southend this weekend, but what are their long-term ambitions now that they have made it into the Football League?

Twenty-eight-year-old Thomson believes that the club must continue to aim high.

“We’re certainly not coming into League Two just to make up the numbers,” he added.

“I’ve got a good mate who got promoted out of the division with Northampton last season and he says we’ll do fine. From what I’ve seen of the standard, I’m sure that we will.

“There’s no way that we’re just going to settle for being in League Two. I’m not saying that I think we’ll just go on and win the title, but it’s wide open, with three automatic promotion spots and the play-offs.

“I was talking to Josh Falkingham the day after we got promoted at Wembley and he said to me ‘I think we’ve got one more [promotion] in us. I think a lot of us in the group share that view.

“That’s the mentality that we have here. Twenty-four hours after beating Notts County at Wembley we were already looking at what we can do next.”

Immediately next for Town is that trip to Southend, who were relegated from League One last term.

And if Thomson and co want a gauge of what to expect at Roots Hall, then they only need to cast their minds back to last weekend’s showdown with Tranmere, who also dropped out of English football’s third tier upon the conclusion of 2019/20.

“I think it just showed that we’re capable of competing at this level,” added the winger, who scored one and set up another in last month’s Wembley triumph.

“Personally, I loved it, loved every minute of it. It was good to be out there at the kind of ground that we’re gonna be going to week in, week out now.

“I don’t think anyone was scared by the occasion. Nobody was hiding or anything like that. Everyone wanted to be getting on the ball and affecting the game and I think we all managed to do that.

“I thought we all rose to the occasion. It was a good team performance and in the end we got the result that I think we deserved.”