Harrogate Town not resting on laurels ahead of first fixture as an EFL club

Harrogate Town will not rest on their laurels as they prepare for their first competitive outing as a Football League club, insists manager Simon Weaver.

By Ben McKenna
Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 4:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 4:21 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham.

Weaver’s side face Tranmere Rovers in the first round of the Carabao Cup on Saturday, in what will be their first-ever fixture as an EFL club.

However, Weaver insists his side remain as driven as ever, as they set out to prove they belong at this level.

“I think we are all excited but still very driven, that has not subsided at all,” said Weaver.

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“I don’t think anybody is naive to the fact we are stepping up a level. We don’t want to have a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show, after our last competitive game being when we won at Wembley.

“We need to perform and the players now have to prove they can string games together consistently at this next level.”

Tranmere were relegated from League One last season after a majority of third tier clubs voted to end the season early and decide final placings via an unweighted points-per-game method.

It means Harrogate and Rovers will meet at least two more times this campaign - barring any potential disruption caused by Covid-19.

Jon Stead in action during Harrogate Town's final pre-season outing against Sunderland. Picture: Matt Kirkham.

Town have warmed up for their first-ever season as a Football League side with matches against Middlesbrough Under-23s, Brighouse Town and Sunderland.

Tranmere drew 1-1 with Championship outfit Preston North End last week but lost 3-0 to Premier League side Burnley on Saturday.

Rovers have had a change of manager during the summer, with Mike Jackson appointed following the departure of Micky Mellon.

The club have also signed former Liverpool and Blackpool FC midfielder Jay Spearing and Weaver feels they will provide a tough challenge on Saturday.

“They have only just come down from League One, and they have got some good height and strength in their team,” he added.

“We will have to defend very well at set pieces, which we did last year.

“They have got two big centre halves and the organisation will have to be very good and we will need to play quickly to hurt them.

“They have got Jay Spearing in midfield as well, who can dominate games so we will need to press high and press hard to counteract their quality.”

Meanwhile, Harrogate’s League Two Yorkshire derby with Bradford City at Valley Parade has been moved from Saturday, October 10 at 3pm to October 11 at 1pm.