Postponement of Harrogate Town's League Two clash with Mansfield Town was 'inevitable', says frustrated Simon Weaver

Simon Weaver felt that it was "inevitable" that Harrogate Town's League Two clash with Mansfield Town would be called off.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 5:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 5:01 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

Stags boss Nigel Clough revealed in the wake of his team's Boxing Day win over Hartlepool that four of his players had already tested positive for Covid-19, while others were beginning to show symptoms.

And with another four members of their squad currently sidelined through injury, the Nottinghamshire outfit informed the Football League that they did not sufficient numbers available to them to be able to fulfil Wednesday night's game at Wetherby Road.

"It seemed inevitable that it was going to be called off, didn't it," Weaver said.

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Stags chief Nigel Clough stated that it was 'inevitable' that more of his Mansfield players would contract Covid-19 before the Stags visited Harrogate Town in midweek.

"Reading between the lines of Nigel's quotes after the Hartlepool game, it looked as if this might end up being the case, so it comes as no surprise.

"It is disappointing because it feels ages since we last played a home fixture, and we were looking forward to being able to carry the feel-good factor from our win at Tranmere Rovers last Tuesday into this game.

"We'd have turned up with 13 fit outfield players the same as we did last week and just got on with it. I think they [Mansfield] are saying they would only have 10 available, so if that's the case then obviously they can't play."

Wednesday's postponement is the second that Harrogate have been affected by during the festive period after their Boxing Day derby with Yorkshire rivals Bradford City was also called off.

Asked if he was frustrated to see two fixtures cancelled due to issues in the opposition camp, Weaver refused to criticise either the Bantams or Mansfield.

"It's hard for me to comment on their situation because I don't know what's going on there, we just wish everyone who is affected at Mansfield well," he continued.

"I can only really speak about our club and, what I can say, is that while I understand that you cannot eliminate all risk, we've done everything that we can to minimise the risk to our players and staff and their families.

"If the EFL decided to delve into it, for whatever reason, they'd see we had cancelled all our Christmas parties, that nobody here has been car-sharing. We've been following the EFL rules, we've done our best to give the correct advice to the players. We've tried to do the right things.

"We are frustrated, but, just because we're okay now, there's no guarantee that we won't be affected by Covid next week. You can contract the virus filling up at a petrol station, so you just never know."

Speaking after his team came from behind to beat Hartlepool at Field Mill, Mansfield boss Clough predicted that more of his players would test positive for Covid-19 ahead of the midweek trip to Harrogate.

“We only have 14 fit outfielders and none of the injuries will be back in time for Wednesday," he said.

“We have a few more now who have symptoms and are coughing and we will test them in the morning and see where we go.

With it spreading so fast I think it's inevitable there will be two or three more.”

Increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases decimated the Boxing Day fixture list across English football, with just three of the 12 scheduled matches going ahead in League Two on Sunday.

And Wednesday's postponement means that Harrogate will have to wait until New Year's Day before they can kick a ball in anger again.

All being well, they will bring to an end their enforced 11-day winter break when they host Port Vale, 3pm kick-off.