Injury problems mount for Harrogate Town ahead of Scunthorpe United clash
Harrogate Town could be down to something approaching the bare bones when they entertain Scunthorpe United on Saturday afternoon (3pm).
The high-flying Sulphurites welcome League Two’s bottom side to Wetherby Road aiming to close the gap on leaders Forest Green Rovers to just a single point, but may have to do so with just 13 fit senior outfield players.
Left-back Lewis Page (hamstring) is not expected to be available again until the middle of the month, while experienced centre-half Rory McArdle had surgery on a groin injury just last week.
And with striker Aaron Martin (hip) and winger Simon Power (groin) struggling to recover in time for this weekend’s match, Simon Weaver is short of options.
“Aaron and Simon were ruled out of Tuesday’s EFL Trophy game with Newcastle with muscular injuries,” the Town boss told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“We are hoping that they are back for Saturday, but I think they are both outside bets if I am being honest.
“If we have to go with [a squad of] 15, then that’s what we’ll do because we’re confident in the lads we’ve got available."
Weaver named four 16-year-old academy players on his substitutes' bench for Tuesday night's EFL Trophy victory over Newcastle United Under-21s, with three of them being introduced late on and getting a first taste of senior football.
But with Paul Stansfield's Under-18s side due to play Salford City at the weekend, the Harrogate chief isn't currently planning on calling the likes of Emmanuel Ilesanmi, Brad Williams or Ben Tweed up once again to bolster his ranks.
He added: “If we were to end up in a situation where we‘re looking at having less than 15 fit and available for Saturday then we’d perhaps consider one of the academy lads.
"But, really I feel that it would be far more beneficial for them to play in Saturday’s youth team fixture rather than potentially not getting any minutes if they were to come with us.”
With Martin Power and Page all expected to be fit again in time to face Colchester United on October 16, Weaver has revealed that he is not in the market for reinforcements at this moment in time.
“These lads aren’t too far away, so I’m not looking at free agents at the moment,” he said.
"Aaron and Simon's injuries are short-term and we think Lewis Page might be okay for next Saturday.
“If it got to the stage where we were looking paper-thin, it could perhaps be an option to have a look, but we don't want to be making a signing just for the sake of it."