Harrogate Town cannot continue to commit 'football suicide' if they are to get play-off push back on track

Simon Weaver has warned that his Harrogate Town players cannot continue to commit “football suicide” if they are to get their play-off push back on track.
Harrogate Town were beaten 4-1 at home by Newport County in midweek. Pictures: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town were beaten 4-1 at home by Newport County in midweek. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town were beaten 4-1 at home by Newport County in midweek. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

A run of seven victories in 10 matches saw the Sulphurites occupying a spot in League Two’s top seven as recently as last Saturday, but back-to-back home losses to Walsall and Newport County have dropped them down to 12th position.

They remain just three points shy of the division’s final play-off berth ahead of this weekend’s trip to Swindon, but made the long trip down to Wiltshire still reeling from Tuesday’s 4-1 home mauling by the Exiles.

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And Weaver insists that lessons have to be learned from that galling defeat, urging his team to tighten up at the back, while becoming less predictable when they have the ball.

Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.
Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

"We had a team meeting and reviewed Tuesday and there were about 60 points made on the game,” the Town boss said. “There were a few good points, but mostly they were quite damning about what we didn't achieve on the night.

"We can't leave ourselves out of sync at the back, which we have done in a couple of recent defeats. We have to show leadership on the pitch and understand that in the league that we are playing in, we can't commit football suicide by leaving one-versus-ones, or two-versus-two situations at the back, and expect nothing to happen.

"That, and we have to mix our game up more. We have invited a full-on press in recent weeks and, at times, we haven't mixed it up enough to be unpredictable when we play. So, the league has cottoned on to us and are starting to press with more aggression and have had more joy.

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"It's about making sure that we have 'plan b' and 'plan c' in players' heads and that they understand that sometimes, if you can't play through, you go round and get balls in the box.

"It's about making sure the players understand that if the opposition fills the middle and we can't play through it, there are other ways - over the top, or down the sides, and then we don't become so one-dimensional."

Town will once again be without long-term casualties Sam Folarin, Rod McDonald and Lewis Thomas this weekend, though hope to have defender Matty Foulds back available after he missed their defeat to Newport through injury.

Kick-off at the County Ground on Saturday is at 3pm.