'It's tough' - Harrogate Town players have just 46 hours to prepare for clash with Chorley FC
Just 46 hours after walking off the pitch on Boxing Day, Harrogate Town return to National League action when they visit Chorley today (Saturday).
A 4-1 victory over Hartlepool United last time out lifted Simon Weaver’s team to fourth in the table, and another three points this afternoon could potentially leave them third at tea-time, just one win from the summit.
But, just like most of the rest of the teams in the division, Town are facing their shortest turnaround between fixtures this season, kicking-off at Victory Park less than two days on from beating Pools.
“It’s tough," said Harrogate striker Jack Muldoon.
"The Premier League club’s complain all the time about all these games over Christmas, where as we’ll have played probably an extra 10 matches at this stage of the season.
“I’ve been in non-league for nearly all my career, so I’m used to it and we’ll just get on with it.
“Friday [Town’s day off in between fixtures] I went to the gym, on the bike half an hour, in the pool, plenty of fluids down me and had some good tea to get me ready for the game.
“Chorley ain’t the nicest team to play against, their pitch ain’t great, they’re not doing great in the league but they have started to find their feet a little bit and found a bit of form, so it will be difficult.
“However, we know that we should be doing better away from home. The gaffer and Thirs [Paul Thirlwell] are telling us that every other training session.”
Boss Weaver echoed Muldoon’s sentiments as far as just getting on with it goes, insisting that “everyone is in the same boat”.
His main concern is that his players are properly prepared to take on the Magpies.
The Town chief was critical of certain members of his team in the wake of a flat display at home to Halifax on Boxing Day 2018, suggesting that some of them must have overindulged when it came to Christmas dinner.
He was however convinced that nobody had taken any liberties this time around, such were their performance levels against Hartlepool.
“Everyone must have looked after themselves this year because they were razor sharp on Boxing Day and they really wanted it,” Weaver said.
“It’s one thing saying ‘I’m gonna do it right’, but then it’s a case of proving it. There’s a lot of talk these days and we want actions.
“The players were off and back with their families [on Friday] and we said enjoy it, but you owe it to yourselves, to everyone at the club and to the fans to eat the right stuff so we can go again.
“It’s a big game, we’re fourth in the table and so there’s every incentive to focus on our careers right now.
“It’s about how professional you are and I’m sure our lot will be really professional because it’s no good beating Hartlepool if you don’t follow it up next game.”
Chorley currently sit second from bottom of the National League having won just four of their 27 league fixtures this term.
Their last success was a 1-0 home victory over Dagenham & Redbridge at the end of Novemeber, while their most recent outing ended in a 3-1 loss at Wrexham.
The previous meeting between Town and the Magpies at Victory Park ended in a 1-0 triumph for the visitors on January 6, 2018, Jordan Thewlis netting the only goal of the game.
Kick-off this afternoon is at 3pm.