Chesterfield v Harrogate Town: Simon Weaver demands both aggression and patience

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver feels that his side need to be more aggressive out on the pitch when they visit Chesterfield tomorrow (Saturday).

The men from Wetherby Road struggled to deal with Ebbsfleet United’s physical approach during the first half of last weekend's 2-1 home defeat, prompting their manager to question whether they are at times too nice.

“We need to be a bit more physical and strong and not be batted off to one side. At times we’re a bit nice and on two occasions that’s really cost us [against Ebbsfleet],” he said.

“The recent evidence would suggest that in one or two games we’ve been knocked off our stride by the physical approach of our opponents.

“During the early part of the season when we went on that long unbeaten run we were more aggressive in terms of closing the opposition down, getting to first and second balls and winning the war.

“You have to earn the right to play at any level, even if you’re Manchester City. It’s all very well us wanting our identity to be all about free-flowing football, but we have to start making life more difficult for the other team when we’re out of possession.

“I want 11 Trojans to walk out on to the field at Chesterfield. We need to compete all over the pitch, and you don’t need to be physically big to do that, it’s about our mentality and how we approach games.”

Weaver has also told his players that they need to show greater patience, insisting that they don't need to go "gung-ho" and try and blow their opponents away.

And having emerged victorious from just two of their last eight National League fixtures, winning ugly will certainly do for the time being.

“This division is full of good teams. They aren’t just going to turn up and let us play, we need to be more patient and show some resilience,” Weaver said.

“If it takes 45 or even 60 minutes before we can start to move the ball around the way we want to then we just have to stay in the game until then.

“We’re too gung-ho at times, and that’s naivety on our part. It’s as if we think we need to race into a two-goal lead to feel good about ourselves.

“It doesn’t always have to be pretty, what is important is that we do the basics right."

Chesterfield have endured a season of struggle since their demotion from League Two at the end of 2017/18, though they are a team transformed since the return of John Sheridan to the managerial hot-seat.

Since the former Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder returned to the Proact Stadium, the Spireites are unbeaten in four matches and have not conceded a goal.

Last weekend they visited high-flying AFC Fylde and came away with a 1-0 victory.

Under previous boss Martin Allen, the Derbyshire outfit almost escaped from the CNG Stadium with a narrow success back in November, only to be denied by Aaron Williams' late equaliser.