Paul Thirlwell on 'strange' feeling of taking charge of Harrogate Town in Simon Weaver's absence

Paul Thirlwell admitted that taking charge of Harrogate Town in the absence of Simon Weaver was 'strange', but went on to praise his players' character after they fought back to draw with Crawley.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 10:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th November 2020, 7:44 am
Harrogate Town assistant manager Paul Thirlwell. Pictures: Matt Kikham

The Sulphurites' boss is currently in self-isolation as a Covid-19 precaution, meaning that his assistant manager assumed control when the Red Devils visited Wetherby Road on Saturday afternoon.

The pair remained in contact throughout the game, agreeing upon a tactical re-shuffle at half-time which ultimately saw Town go on to secure a point courtesy of Jack Muldoon's 85th-minute goal.

“Nothing really changed that much for me from what I would usually be doing, I just didn’t have the gaffer stood next to me, which I’m obviously used to,” Thirlwell said.

Jack Muldoon celebrates after nodding home Town's late leveler from close range.

“That definitely made things strange, we're used to having him here day in, day out and nobody will be more frustrated than him, sat at home. But, we were in constant dialogue before, the game, during the game and after.

"We spoke about substitutions and various bits and bobs like the change in formation and, as we generally do, we both kind of saw things in the same way.

"He was really pleased with the second-half performance, pleased that we got a result and the lads got what they deserved.

“We just want the gaffer back as quick as possible, and hopefully that’s sooner rather than later.”

Thirlwell slammed Town's first-half showing, admitting that he would liked to have made "seven or eight" changes at the interval.

The hosts had begun brightly, but were rocked by going a goal down on 27 minutes and could have been further behind by the break had Crawley been more ruthless in the final third.

Harrogate were however much better in the second period, leading Thirlwell to praise his players' strength of character.

"It [falling behind] does knock the stuffing out of you when you've been on a bit of a run of not winning games when you're a side who are used to winning games - it is difficult," he added.

"But, you've got to dig yourselves out of it and we just needed to have a bit more belief in ourselves.

"The second half was always going to be about showing character, it’s about how you react. It can’t always be pats on the back at half-time.

“The lads came out and showed a hell of a lot of character because it’s easy to go under on a wet and windy day when things haven’t been going your way, but we kept going and plucking away.

"We hung in there, kept ourselves in the game and then began to impose ourselves on it. There was a lot of good play as well. With 10 minutes to go it looked as if it wasn't going to be our day once again, though I think we fully deserved a point in the end."