PREVIEW: Saturday football

Harrogate Town Manager Simon Weaver (121128M2)
Harrogate Town Manager Simon Weaver (121128M2)

Promotion chasing Harrogate Town travel to Altrincham on Saturday, playing for a win that may see them climb into the top half of the Blue Square North, on the day they could have been playing Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

A second away league win in a row would push Town closer to the coveted play-off positions, the prospect of doing well in the league banishing any thoughts on what might have been at the Riverside.

Hastings United will try their luck at Middlesbrough after beating Town 5-4 on penalties in a replay in December, but the Wetherby Road boss insists his players are interested only in looking forward.

He said: “The players haven’t mentioned the cup match, they have put it to bed. I think they have learned from the Hastings United disappointment, and they have said that was then, this is now and we are better now.

“We always wanted to do well in the FA Cup, we did well in the FA Cup, but now we can continue to stride forward in the league.”

Altrincham sit eighth in the league, and, if results go Town’s way, a win could see them leapfrog the Robins, joining them on 30 points, with a win meaning Town would have a superior goal difference.

Town will beware league top scorer Damian Reeves, who has 20 for the season.

Following Town’s New Year’s Day 2-1 win at Workington, however, the manager is hopeful of progress on Saturday afternoon.

He said: “We have to keep looking forward. I want to make Saturday a good day, and we are in business if we can even get a point.

“After last week’s win we are in a good position, and there is a lot to look forward to.”

Elsewhere, the region’s football clubs are hopeful a recent break in wet weather will allow matches to go ahead.

Harrogate Railway will look to build on Tuesday’s 2-2 home draw with Farsley FC when they host struggling Garforth Town at Station View in the Evo Stik league Northern Premier First Division North.

In NCEL Division One, Knaresborough Town travel to play Eccleshill United (kick-off 3pm).

In the West Yorkshire Association Premier Division, Ripon City will bid to extend their lead at the top of the table when they host lowly East End Park (kick-off 2pm).

Wetherby Athletic hope the pitch will allow their home match against bottom side Pool to go ahead as planned from 2pm.

Boroughbridge travel to play Carlton Athletic in the other 2pm kick-off in the WYA.

However, Tadcaster Albion’s 2Inspire pitch remains under a depth of water, meaning Saturday’s planned NCEL Premier match against Bridlington (kick-off 3pm) is unlikely to be played.

Follow @AlexWJohnston for score updates.

See this week’s Harrogate Advertiser for results and reaction from the games, and a preview of the action on January 12.