Harrogate Town v Cambridge United: Fringe players to be handed chance to impress

Simon Weaver plans to rotate his Harrogate Town squad for Friday night’s League Two showdown with title-chasing Cambridge United.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 9:57 am
Updated Thursday, 29th April 2021, 10:12 am
Brendan Kiernan is one of a number of Harrogate Town players who could be in line for a recall against Cambridge. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The U’s visit North Yorkshire second in the table and requiring a point to wrap up automatic promotion to the third tier.

By contrast, the 17th-placed Sulphurites have little to play for with their EFL status already secured and also have the small matter of Monday’s 2019/20 FA Trophy final to consider.

Thus, Weaver intends to use Town’s final home fixture of the campaign to provide some of the players on the fringes of his group with a chance to stake their claim for a place in his Wembley line-up, and to prove that they are worth keeping around next term.

Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

“We’ll be giving some lads a go on Friday night, we will be rotating things and there will be a few changes to the team, that’s for certain,” the Harrogate chief told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“We don’t want to get to the end of the season and there being lads in the squad who haven’t had a chance. There are players who have been waiting in the wings very patiently, but training well. There is nobody here at the club who we aren’t prepared to put our faith in.

“It will be an opportunity that they definitely need to try and take with both hands. Time is running out this season, there will only be two games left after Friday, so lads have got to step up.

“We will leave it until after the season is finished to sit down with all the players who are out of contract this summer for individual chats about their future and we’ve got to see enough from everyone to make us think that they can continue to develop further.”

Weaver admits that he already has a good idea of the side he will put out against Concord Rangers in Bank Holiday Monday’s FA Trophy showpiece, though he insists that there is still time for individuals to play their way into his starting XI.

“This is certainly an opportunity for someone to really stand out,” he added.

“If Thirs [Paul Thirlwell] and myself end up being so impressed by an individual’s performance that we’re saying ‘wow, what a game’ after Friday’s match, then of course that player could come into contention.

“There are two more fixtures after Friday - at Wembley on Monday and then the final game of the season at Cheltenham. If any of the lads who are given a chance on Friday want a place in the line-up for either of the last two then they will have to put in a performance against Cambridge.

“That is exactly what we are looking for from the players.”

Town’s clash with Cambridge kicks-off at the EnviroVent Stadium at 7pm on Friday evening.