Harrogate Town v Swindon Town: Simon Weaver wants Sulphurites to meet Robins head on

Simon Weaver wants his new-look Harrogate Town side “to go out and attack the opening month” of the 2022/23 campaign with everything they have, starting against Swindon this Saturday.

By Rhys Howell
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Saturday, 30th July 2022, 9:03 am
Luke Armstrong netted a consolation strike in a 4-1 defeat last time Harrogate Town hosted Swindon Town at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Luke Armstrong netted a consolation strike in a 4-1 defeat last time Harrogate Town hosted Swindon Town at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites kick-off their third season as a League Two club with what looks a tough assignment against a side who are strongly fancied for promotion this term.

The Robins finished 2021/22 sixth in the table, losing their play-off semi-final clash with Port Vale on penalties.

And Weaver concedes that his own team will have to be at somewhere near their best if they want to beat an outfit whom he believes boast some of the best individual talents in the fourth tier - and the division above.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver wants his players to "attack" the opening month of the 2022/23 campaign.

But, the Town boss has told a squad that he is confident will go on to become the strongest he has had at his disposal since promotion to the EFL was secured in 2020, to go out without inhibition and play their own game.

“We know that Swindon is a difficult game first up. They're a very strong team," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"They've got a Welsh international in Jonny Williams and the likes of Louis Reed. These are two of the best individual players you'll find in League Two and League One.

"We appreciate that it is very important that we nullify their threat because they can really hurt you, however at the same time we want to be ourselves and play our game.

"It's the first match of the season. It will be a lot of lads' first game for the club. There will be a lot of adrenaline and we want to use that, we want our players to go out onto the pitch and enjoy playing for Harrogate Town.

"We want the lads to go out and just have a go and try and get us off to that winning start that we all so desperately want."

Town finished their maiden season as a Football League outfit 17th in League Two, then ended 2021/22 in 19th position.

Asked what the club is hoping to achieve this term, Weaver replied: “I can’t put a number on it in terms of what we are aiming for because it’s a much more difficult division.

"But, I just want the lads to go out and attack the opening month and then we will see where we are and re-evaluate from there."

Swindon's previous visit to Wetherby Road, on Good Friday, was a horror show for Town. They suffered a 4-1 defeat and also saw fans' favourite Ryan Fallowfield stretchered off the field in agony having suffered a season-ending injury.

But Weaver doesn't believe that result will have any bearing whatsoever on this weekend's encounter.

"I don't think there will be any mental scarring at all," he continued.

"We'll have some many new players in our squad this weekend that our team will be very different and so I'm not worried about what happened last time Swindon came here."

Ten of Weaver's 11 summer signings are in contention to play their first competitive match in Harrogate colours on Saturday.

Winger Max Wright is the only one of Town's new recruits to miss out, having damaged an ankle during last week's pre-season draw with Barnsley.

That injury, which has been revealed to be far more serious than initially expected, means that he joins midfielder Josh Falkingham, central defenders Rory McArdle and Will Smith on the sidelines.