Harrogate Town v Oldham Athletic: Sulphurites forced into defensive re-shuffle

Harrogate Town will be forced into a defensive re-shuffle for Tuesday night's League Two clash with Oldham Athletic.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:48 pm
Harrogate Town defender Dan Jones. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Left-back Dan Jones limped off early in the second half of the Sulphurites' 2-1 win over Bradford City on Saturday and is still struggling with an ankle problem.

Warren Burrell switched across from right-back to take over on the opposite flank during that game and is the obvious choice to deputise against the Latics, potentially paving the way for a re-call for Ryan Fallowfield.

But, if Simon Weaver wants to keep Burrell on the right, then midfielder Ed Francis could be deployed at left-back having covered that position with some success this term.

Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

"He basically just rolled his ankle and really turned it quite badly," the Town manager said of Jones' issue.

"So, he'll be missing on Tuesday night but hopefully back on Saturday."

Weaver also delivered some bad news regarding Aaron Martin, who also has an ankle problem following an incident in training earlier this month.

He added: "Aaron is struggling now to play again before the end of the season, which is a blow because he's such an energetic and forceful character up front for us.

"We will miss him."

Winger Simon Power is another player who will not feature again this season having torn a hamstring against Southend United on March 27, but otherwise Weaver has everybody available for selection for Tuesday's fixture.

Mark Beck had to be replaced in stoppage-time of Saturday's triumph over Bradford having only entered the fray as a second-half substitute, though the knock he sustained was not a serious one and he was able to return to training on Monday.

Victory over the Bantams means that Harrogate will be playing EFL football once again next term, but despite their safety already being secured, Weaver has no plans to rotate his squad during the four remaining league fixtures of 2020/21.

"Tuesday will be treated exactly the same as any other game because we want back-to-back wins, we want to be unbeaten in three and build up that confidence within the squad," he said.

"People can play themselves into it if people are looking tired and we need a bit of freshening up, I'm not worried about changing the line-up but we really want to finish as high up the table as possible.

"It's not just a case of making sure we stay up and then rotating and playing the entire squad. The lads out of the team have to be of the mindset that they won't be denied an opportunity at some point, but they have to warrant it."

Kick-off between Town and Oldham at the EnviroVent Stadium is at 7pm.