Simon Weaver throws down the gauntlet to Harrogate Town's out-of-favour players
Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver has thrown down the gauntlet to the players in his squad who have found themselves out of his starting XI in recent weeks.
After two disappointing performances during back-to-back defeats to Forest Green and Morecambe, the Sulphurites chief has said that places are well and truly up for grabs ahead of this weekend's clash with struggling Southend United.
And Weaver has challenged those who found themselves either among the substitutes or outside of his match-day squad on Saturday to prove to him in training this week that they deserve an opportunity to start against the Shrimpers.
"The challenge now is for those lads who were on the bench on Saturday, or not in the squad," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.
"If they're not in the team this week after two defeats and two poor performances, then it's because they've not done enough in training.
"The challenge is go and be better than what we have seen out on the pitch for the last two Saturdays. If they are then they've got every chance of being given an opportunity.
"We'll have a game in the week during training and we'll see. Nobody in the squad is out of the question."
Defenders Warren Burrell and Jay Williams, midfielder Ed Francis and attackers Brendan Kiernan and Mark Beck were the five outfield players named as substitutes for last Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Morecambe.
Beck was introduced up front for Aaron Martin on 75 minutes, while Kiernan made a brief cameo late on after left-winger Josh McPake picked up a knock.
Jake Lawlor and Kevin Lokko were the Town defenders not included in Weaver's squad, while midfielders Connor Kirby and Wesley Hondermarck plus forwards Jon Stead and Josh Andrews were also left out.
Experienced midfielder Lloyd Kerry and on-loan left-back Mitchell Roberts missed out through injury.