Harrogate Town v Hartlepool United: A Boxing Day win would be 'massive'
A Boxing Day win over Hartlepool United would be "massive" for Harrogate Town, according to manager Simon Weaver.
The Wetherby Road outfit could have gone fourth in the National League standings had they managed to overcome Boreham Wood last time out, but instead dropped to seventh after conceding in stoppage-time and losing the game 2-1.
And, with three clubs among the chasing pack within striking distance of his side, Weaver is all too aware that only a positive result on Thursday afternoon will guarantee that Town don’t drop out of the play-off picture.
“It would be a massive win if we could beat Hartlepool on Boxing Day,” he said.
“They’re a very decent outfit, they’ll be buoyed by their victory in their last game and they’ve still got that boost from having a new manager come in.
“We know it will be tough, but for us it’s important that we go all out for the result because it’s so tight in terms of the league table at the moment and our ambition is still to try and break into the top-three.
“Our home form has been excellent, and something we can be proud of. So, we have to back ourselves.”
Town hosted Pools earlier this month in an FA Trophy clash, fighting back from two goals down to triumph 3-2 in dramatic fashion.
And although that encounter is still very much fresh in the memory, Weaver is expecting a different game on Boxing Day.
“They’ll definitely have a stronger side out and so will we, so I think it will be completely different,” he added.
"Obviously I was really pleased with the Trophy win and the manner of our fightback, but if you'd offered me six league points against Hartlepool in exchange for losing that game then I'd have taken it, and I'm sure Dave Challinor would, too.
“We’re just really looking forward to it. They’ll bring a lot of fans and fill the Wetherby Road stand, it should make for a great occasion
"I love Boxing Day football and I know a lot of others do. It's a chance to get out after Christmas and an opportunity to support your local team."
Defeat at Boreham Wood on Saturday meant that Weaver has again had to address the issue of his team's disappointing away form.
And, the Town boss conceded that their inability to pick up points on the road means that there is a greater onus on his players to deliver at the CNG Stadium.
"The display at Boreham Wood wasn't a bad one. It wasn't like what we saw at Eastleigh or Sutton, so it's not a case of needing to tear anything up," Weaver said.
"But, again, we haven't got a result. At 1-1, we weren't able to see it out for what would have been a good point against a top side, who are unbeaten in eight now, I believe.
"The away form does put more pressure on us to keep getting results at home, where our record is excellent.
"There is pressure, but as I say, we've been very good at home and our next game is Hartlepool - at home. So we go into it with confidence, just looking to keep doing what we've been doing."