Harrogate Town players to return to training in anticipation of National League play-offs going ahead

Harrogate Town players are set to return to group training on Tuesday morning.
Harrogate Town players training at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town players training at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town players training at the CNG Stadium. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Simon Weaver's squad will report back to the CNG Stadium for the first time since the 2019/20 season was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The move to begin training comes in anticipation of the club competing in the National League promotion play-offs next month.

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The league's board is proposing that points-per-game ratio be used to decide final standings, top-of-the-table Barrow be promoted to League Two automatically and play-offs be held to determine who takes the second promotion spot.

Member clubs have to vote on the resolution by Monday. If it is passed, then Town will face the winner of Boreham Wood versus FC Halifax Town, at home, in their play-off semi-final.

"We'll be back in on Tuesday unless we're shocked by what happens at Monday night's vote, but I don't foresee that happening," Town boss Weaver revealed.

"The feedback at the meeting was mainly quite positive, so I believe that clubs will vote yes to this proposal.

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"It will be good to get back to training as a group. We're really looking forward to it.

"The lads have all been keeping themselves ticking over, but I'll be giving them until the Monday after we come back to hit the target weights we set them.

"I think that we'll need four weeks to get the players properly prepared for competitive football. No dates will be confirmed until we know if the play-offs are happening, but I believe we'll be given sufficient time."

Weaver broke the news of the outcome of Thursday's National League meeting to his entire squad via a Zoom video call.

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"It was great to see all the lads in the Zoom chat," he added.

"We'd arranged the call, but I was late on to it, so they were all there waiting, a very anxious group.

"I think a lot of them were surprised that the play-offs were back on the table after so many teams had been against them taking place when the issue was last discussed.

"They're well up for it, however. They've got to to get their heads around the situation we're in and make sure we come back and hit the ground running next week.

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"They've all got a purpose again, so we'll step things up again in terms of their individual fitness work and start working towards making sure that we can be the best form of ourselves for two matches."

It remains to be seen what will happen if member clubs do not back the National League board's proposal, however the Harrogate Advertiser understands that alternative solutions which include voiding the season will be considered.