Town defy injury crisis

Chib Chilaka returns to the CNG Stadium with Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday
Chib Chilaka returns to the CNG Stadium with Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday

Harrogate Town chief Simon Weaver saluted his make-shift back four after his side stretched their unbeaten run to five games on Saturday.

An injury crisis meant Weaver could only name 14 players in his match-day squad for the 2-0 win against second-bottom Worcerster City.

First choice centre-backs Shane Killock and Leigh Franks were both missing, as were Michael Woods, Paul Beesley and Dayle Southwell.

And half-time injuries to defenders Dwayne Samuels and Adam Nowakowski meant wingers Cleveland Taylor and Craig Nelthorpe had to fill the defensive void, with left-back Dave Merris moving to centre-half.

“The make-shift back four were not put under that much stress,” said Weaver.

“Mezzer did well and both Craig and Cleveland did a good job slotting back in.”

Town’s injury crisis has since worsened with Merris falling ill during the week.

And the lack of players forced Weaver to cancel a midweek friendly against League One side Bradford City.

The boss is hopeful Franks and Killock will be fit when City’s neighbours Bradford Park Avenue arrive at the CNG Stadium in the FA Trophy third round qualifying on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The match will be FA Cup hero Chib Chilaka’s first playing return to the CNG Stadum since being released in the summer.

The striker has settled into BPA’s flowing system.

And Weaver was impressed by John Deecy’s men when he watched them lose 4-2 to Altrincham on Monday night.

“Chib’s a great lad. I enjoyed him being part of our squad,” added Weaver.

“I thought he was a big threat during the West Riding County Cup match (which Town won 1-0 on November 4).

“We will have to be really mindful of him.

“It’s a big game for us and for Bradford.

“Everyone wants to do well in the FA Trophy.

“Bradford play some great football and they score goals.

“It should make for a good atmosphere and hopefully another decent crowd.”

Saturday’s clash will be the last of Dayle Southwell’s loan from Grimsby Town and Weaver said he would looking at extending the deal further.

The gaffer’s substitutions again paid dividend at home on Saturday as replacements Ashley Worsfold and Dom Rowe scored late goals to earn Town’s fourth straight win.

“Perhaps I’m getting a bit lucky,” added Weaver.

“It’s good that they remain fired up.

“We are explaining to them whilst they are not starting they can have an impact on the game.

“The lads have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.

“I am pleased they have that about their personality.”

The win bumped Town up to 11th in Skrill North, eight points off the play-off zone and Weaver hailed his side’s turnaround.

“We were in a bit of a rut,” he said

“Four wins on the bounce is the response we needed.”