Harrogate Town v Carlisle United: Mark Beck set to return with a 'point to prove' against his former club
The 27-year-old striker, who came through the Cumbrians’ academy and played 66 league games for them between 2012 and 2015, has not featured since early December due to the recurrence of a troublesome hamstring issue which he first picked up all the way back in November 2019.
But, having returned to group training with the rest of Harrogate’s squad a couple of weeks ago, he has forced his way back into contention.
And, given the extra dimension that a 6ft 4in targetman can bring, Town chief Simon Weaver is glad to have Beck back at his disposal for the visit of the title-chasers.
“Mark Beck is returning to the squad tomorrow. He used to play for Carlisle, so obviously he’s got a point to prove,” the Harrogate manager said.
“He’s very hard to play against. We recognised that when he was at Darlington, that’s why we wanted to bring him in.
“Sometimes you do need to go long. We all want to play like Manchester City, but even they scored from a direct ball yesterday didn’t they?
“He is a real handful and he has just been unlucky with the season he has had.
“You only have to look at the Portsmouth [FA Cup] game last season when he’d had a run of games, was scoring goals and was an absolute beast against a top League One outfit. We know what he is capable of."
Initially sidelined with a grade one tear in his hamstring in late November 2019, Beck made two appearances from the substitutes’ bench around the turn of year, only to then break down again in training in mid-January 2020.
His progress following that set-back was slow, prompting Town to send him for additional tests in March, with a second MRI scan shedding new light on the situation.
Beck then had an injection into the problematic tendon in his hamstring, but the procedure did not have the desired effect and the first coronavirus lockdown meant that he was unable to return to hospital for further treatment.
He was eventually able to arrange a second injection in June and recovered just in time to take his place on the substitutes' bench for the club's National League play-off semi-final and final victories.
Harrogate's first-ever League Two campaign kicked-off with Beck leading the line, though he has been in and out of Weaver's team since the start of 2020/21 due to flare-ups of his hamstring troubles.
He has made 15 appearances this term, 10 of them from the start, and scored just once - against Skelmersdale United in the FA Cup.
And, following such a tough time on the injury front, boss Weaver insists that his striker is due some better fortune.
"He just needs a bit of luck. It's the same for any player you just need a run of games and to avoid injuries," he added.
"He's a really good lad as well and he deserves to have a run of injury-free games. He's the type of character who you want to see do well."
Town's clash with Carlisle kicks-off at 7pm on Tuesday evening.