Harrogate Town v MK Dons: Sulphurites must win final home fixture to keep top-seven hopes alive

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town head into their final home fixture of 2023/24 knowing that nothing but a victory will do if they are to keep their slim chances of grabbing a League Two play-off spot alive.

The Sulphurites would have moved to within a point of the top seven had they managed to hold on their 2-1 lead against Sutton United, but conceding an 87th-minute equaliser left them three points off the pace and needing a minor miracle to make up the required ground.

Crawley’s failure to beat Barrow in midweek kept Harrogate just about in the fight, but extended that gap to seventh place to four points.

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Thus, Town have to beat fourth-placed MK Dons at Wetherby Road this Saturday (3pm) if they are to have any chance of having something to play for away at Salford City on the last day of the season.

This season has already seen Town break two significant club records, as their current points total of 62 already exceeds their previous best League Two tally of 57 from 2020/21 – their debut Football League campaign.

And they have already won more matches (17) than in any of their three previous terms playing in English football’s fourth tier.

But, the reality of their situation does however mean that 12th-placed Town will need to increase the number in the ‘victories’ column to 18 by Saturday tea-time if they are to keep their season alive.

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The good news for Harrogate ahead of what looks, on paper, a tough assignment against a Dons side who are already guaranteed to finish inside the play-off places is that they are in decent form – and have already beaten MK 1-0 away from home this term.

The Sulphurites have lost just one of their previous eight games, and have taken 10 points from the last 12 at home.

Mike Williamson’s Dons head into the fixture off the back of a 4-1 home reverse at the hands of Mansfield, and a rather inconsistent run of form that has seen them win five, lose four and draw one of their previous 10 matches.

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