Harrogate Town fired up for festive fixtures

hsb  Town v Hinckley Utd. Town's Paul Bolland  (121215M3c)
hsb Town v Hinckley Utd. Town's Paul Bolland (121215M3c)

Harrogate Town manager

Simon Weaver has praised the team spirit at Wetherby Road, as they prepare for a Blue Square North double-header.

Town’s players returned from their 540-mile round trip to Hastings, where they bowed out of the FA Cup after a penalty shootout, on Friday morning. Just over a day later, Town thrashed Hinckley United 5-0 in front of 1,444 fans at Wetherby Road.

Town were beaten 2-0 at Chester on Wednesday night and are at Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday, before hosting Workington on Boxing Day (kick-offs 3pm).

The manager knows his side must pick up points over Christmas to keep their league campaign on track.

He said: “The players are showing what the club means to them, and there is huge competition for places.

“Some dressing rooms I have been in are subdued but there is a real buzz around the club at the moment, which is great to see especially after the cup result.

“Bishop’s Stortford are a slippery team, they have made an impression on some of the top teams, they have a striker, Ricky Sappleton, who is a big lad but he is deceptive.

“He backs into people and is a big threat, and a good striker.”

Strugglers Stortford recently signed former Town defender Andrew Burns.

Workington have lost just once in eight league outings, but Weaver believes his players will relish the chance to test the play-off chasers.

He said: “They are on a bit of a run, and it will be a big test for us.

“We need to do what we have done against teams like Hinckley, to dictate the game.”

The Wetherby Road pitch passed a late pitch inspection on Saturday, and the club is hopeful it will be ready for Boxing Day.

The manager said: “The groundsmen are out there every day, it is a thankless task.”

On Saturday Chib Chilaka scored twice before Adam Nowakowski, Shane Killock and Tom Platt each netted.

The manager said: “What a brilliant result.

“We played with the same back four and goalkeeper, and Nowakowski and Paul Bolland played well, and Dan Clayton was an outlet for us out wide.

“It was the result we needed to bounce back, and there is real competition for places now.”

Lee Elam is doubtful for this week’s matches.

Jose Veiga and Paul Beesley returned in Town’s West Riding County Cup quarter-final against Guiseley on Tuesday. Sadly, Town were beaten 5-0.