Hat-trick hero Brendan Kiernan on his hopes of featuring for Harrogate Town in FA Trophy final

When Simon Weaver gave his fringe players a chance during Harrogate Town's 5-4 win over Cambridge United, he said that anybody who "wowed" him could come into contention for Monday's FA Trophy final.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd May 2021, 2:42 pm
Harrogate Town forward Brendan Kiernan celebrates his hat-trick goal against Cambridge United. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

In scoring a first-half hat-trick against the League Two title-chasers on what was his first start in more than three months, Brendan Kiernan could hardly have done any more to force his way into his manager's plans ahead of the Sulphurites' Wembley showdown with Concord Rangers.

Having managed just the one goal in 28 league appearances prior to Friday night's thriller at Wetherby Road, the live-wire 28-year-old attacker quadrupled his tally for the campaign in the space of just 23 minutes.

His overall performance was the kind that has to leave Town's manager with something of a selection headache, with Weaver hinting post-match that he knew what his starting XI would be but confirming that he had been left with a "real problem" in terms of picking a side.

Brendan Kiernan pounces from close range to put the Sulphurites 4-2 up.

But, what of Kiernan himself? Does the player think that he deserves a start based on his goalscoring heroics last time out?

Asked if he felt he had done everything he could have done to put himself in his boss' thoughts for the Trophy showpiece, the former AFC Wimbledon man replied: "Yeah I think I've done all I can.

"I think he [Weaver] has got to pick it [the team] on everything, so I just had got to do my job and I'm glad I got the hat-trick, that was nice.

"Everyone is ready and focused, me and all the boys, we are ready to finish the job on Monday."

Whether it proves sufficient to earn Kiernan a start at Wembley or not, scoring his first-ever EFL hat-trick is an achievement in itself, though the ex-Fulham and Crystal Palace trainee was full of praise for the contribution of his team-mates to Friday's success.

"It was my first Football League hat-trick, so it's very special. It all happens very quickly so I'll probably assess it all tomorrow, but it was a good night. We put in an absolute shift, all of us, all the boys," he added.

"Becky [Mark Becl] was winning all the flick-ons, so I was just thinking 'stay as close to him as possible' and it worked well for us.

"I said to Ryan [Fallowfield] before the game, if you get down the sides, I'm going to get across the front man to the near post. The crosses were similar for my first goal and for Becky's goal. Ryan made it easy for us.

"I was so happy for Kev [Lokko]. His goal was well deserved. I'm happy he got the winner, you couldn't write it.

"Everyone gets on so well, just to see the boys who have been patient get a reward tonight that was nice, I think everyone appreciated that."