Portsmouth FC away exactly the kind of 'big tie' Harrogate Town were hoping for in FA Cup second round

Portsmouth away is without doubt one of the toughest draws Harrogate Town could have been handed in the second round of the FA Cup, but Simon Weaver says he is “excited” by the prospect of a trip to Fratton Park.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 8:02 am
Harrogate Town are looking forward to playing a 'big' FA Cup tie in front of a 'great' crowd at Pompey's Fratton Park. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites will renew hostilities with the 2008 winners of the competition on the weekend of December 4, just over two years on from the clubs’ 2019 meeting at the first-round stage.

Pompey currently sit 14th in League One, with Town seventh in League Two.

“It’s a tough one isn’t it, but it’s exciting for us,” Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

Jack Muldoon in action for Harrogate Town during their FA Cup first round defeat to Pompey at Wetherby Road in November 2019. Picture: Matt Kirkham

“We could have had an easier draw, for sure, but we’d much rather be facing a big tie like this.

“It’s one of those draws where you think ‘this will be a proper stern test’, however we can go there and really have a go at them and look to express ourselves in a good stadium where we’ll be playing a strong outfit in front of a great crowd.

“We’ve played away at Sheffield Wednesday in another cup competition this week, we’re going to Fratton Park next month and we’ve got a trip to Walsall coming up. Yes, Walsall are in League Two like us, but these are all big clubs.

“When you look at where we were a few years ago and compare it to what we’re doing and where we’re going now, it’s just brilliant.”

Town set up their meeting with Portsmouth by beating National League Wrexham 2-1 last weekend, while Pompey edged out Harrow Borough of the Southern Premier League.

But, with a total of 52 other teams in the hat for the second round draw due to some ties still requiring replays, Weaver couldn’t believe that his side had end up being paired with the Hampshire outfit once again.

“It’s crazy,” he added. “As the draw was narrowing down I was sat watching and thinking ‘there’s still some biggies left’. I said to Sally, my wife, ‘we’re surely not going to draw Sheffield

Wednesday again’ but we’ve ended up being paired with Portsmouth for the second time in two years.

“It will show how far we’ve come since we last played them won’t it. They’ve still got some of the same players, [Ronan] Curtis the left-winger, [John] Marquis up front and Sean Raggett at the back.

“Obviously we lost that game [by a 2-1 scoreline] but I don’t think we played badly at all. We’re a League Two team now and it will be a good indicator in terms of our progress.”