Torquay United v Harrogate Town: Simon Weaver pleased with Warren Burrell midfield experiment
With Josh Falkingham and Alex Bradley both injury doubts for Saturday’s National League trip to Torquay United, Warren Burrell looks set to keep his place in the Harrogate Town midfield.
Boss Simon Weaver experimented with arguably the most versatile member of his squad in a more advanced role in midweek as Chorley were beaten 2-0 at the CNG Stadium.
Burrell has operated as a midfielder for much of his career, though the last couple of seasons have seen him used predominantly at centre-half and also deployed in both full-back positions.
And while Weaver's hand may be forced on this occasion due to Falkingham and Bradley joining fellow midfielder Lloyd Kerry on the treatment table, the Town boss says that Burrell has proven himself more than capable of holding his own in the engine room.
"Warren was outstanding [against Chorley] and was man of the match. I was hoping it would work out that way, but it's been a couple of years at least since he performed in there," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.
"I thought Warren made a big impact in the middle of the park, doing the sort of [N'Golo] Kante role, covering every blade of grass, putting out fires with a more defensive mindset, protecting the back-four and winning second balls.
"He can play, he's not just in there to be destructive, but we've learned harsh lessons that if it's not going our way and if there's a loose ball, we don't want to become accustomed just to losing it and suddenly the opposition are presented with a chance.
"We've got the pace to recover through Warren and the leap, the strength to put out fires in there and to win seconds."
While positive about Burrell's contribution last time out, Weaver spoke with less optimism regarding Falkingham's chances of recovering from an ankle knock in time for this weekend's clash with a Torquay side promoted from National League South as champions last term.
"Josh is a big concern for Saturday. He's a talisman for us and we need him fit, but it's touch and go," Weaver added.
"Alex, I don't think will be fit for Saturday so that's three really good midfielders could be out, but we've got Jack Emmett to come in and we need to stay positive."
Just like Town, Torquay have begun the new season in rather inconsistent fashion.
They have won three, drawn three and lost three thus far and find themselves 11th in the National League Standings, two places and one point better off than Weaver's men.
The Gulls went down 2-1 at home to Hartlepool United last Saturday then drew 1-1 on the road at Woking in midweek.