Relieved Simon Weaver makes FA Trophy promise to Harrogate Town fans
The Wetherby Road outfit were due to tackle the Magpies on Thursday evening, less than 24 hours after finishing up at the Hawthorns, where they face Premier League West Bromwich Albion in the second round of the Carabao Cup.
The prospect of contesting two competitive fixtures in the space of as many days left Weaver facing a real selection headache, however Town's Trophy clash has now been pushed back until Tuesday, September 22.
“I am relieved, we would have been really stretched playing twice in 24 hours,” the Harrogate boss said.
“It would have been inevitable that we would have had to make a lot of changes, you couldn’t have lads playing two games back-to-back.
“The West Brom match is massive for the club, one where we’re really in the limelight, but we’d have had to bring some of the players off after 45 or 60 minutes so they could play the following day - and then that’s impacting on the league fixture on the Saturday as well.
“So, the semi-final being moved back until next week is a big positive. I’m delighted, really. It means we can focus fully on Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game this week, then be in a much better position to take on Notts County as well.”
A place at Wembley awaits the winners of next week's Trophy semi-final showdown as the Football Association attempts to complete a competition which had to be suspended when 2019/20 was curtailed prematurely due to the coronavirus crisis.
Non-league finals day was scheduled to take place on September 27, but has now been postponed because of the recent rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
It is the FA's hope that Trophy and Vase finals can now be played at a time when social distancing measures will allow at least some fans to attend, a hope that is shared by Weaver.
The Town boss is desperate to lead his side to a second Wembley date of the year, and has delivered a message to the club's supporters, who were unable to attend last month's National League play-off final triumph over Notts County.
“We were frustrated when we thought we were going to have to play the Trophy game so soon after West Brom. The only alternative we had was to concede and drop out,”
“Let me tell you, there was no way on earth we would have taken that option. This is an FA Trophy semi-final.
“There’s a place in a Wembley final at stake, and an opportunity for our supporters to potentially come and share the experience with us, something we are so desperate for after they missed out on the play-off final.
“My message to the fans before playing Wednesday, Thursday was that we would be going all out to beat Notts County and doing everything we could to make sure that we did.
“Nothing has changed in that regard, the supporters can be assured of that. But, the extra time to prepare means that we’ll be in a much stronger position to go on and try and set up that second Wembley date and hopefully give the fans a day out to remember."