Town get set for Belfast crusade

Town boss and Adam Nowakowski are off to Northern Ireland on Saturday.
Town boss and Adam Nowakowski are off to Northern Ireland on Saturday.

The bags are packed and they are ready to go.

Simon Weaver’s men are all set to leave on a jet plane on Saturday morning for a pre-season fixture against Crusaders, in Belfast.

Alex Meechan in action against Knaresborough Town.

Alex Meechan in action against Knaresborough Town.

It’s a trip both Weaver and assistant John McDermott are looking forward to.

Their itinerary is as follows. The side will stay in Liverpool close to John Lennon Airport on Friday night. Saturday morning they hop on a plane to the Northern Ireland capital, before gearing up to play the well-supported home team.

It will be a stern test for Weaver’s troops but one the Wetherby Road boss can’t wait for.

“It will be something different, something new,” he said.

“But we’re all looking forward to it. I think it’s a first for Harrogate Town to go there, it should be a great experience.”

Crusaders have a number of tough pre-season games planned before the start of their season.

On August 14, Brendan Rodgers will bring his Liverpool side over for a fixture.

The side have also been in Europa League action this month against Rosenborg, losing 3-0 at home and 1-0 away.

Town assistant John McDermott knows his side will be up against it.

But the team bonding trip will be just what they need ahead of a tough Blue Square North start.

“It will give the new players a chance to gell together,” he said.

“The new players who have come in have been fantastic. The new defenders are getting used to playing together, they’ve had chance to bed in, we’re really happy with their progress.

“We’re happy with the way it’s working out at the moment.

“But we’ve got a few more weeks just to iron out any other problems, and maybe look at a few new formations. The friendlies we’ve had so far have all been good tests for us, and we’re pleased with the way the players have responded.”

Town moved quick to replace Kris Gate, who had a last minute change of heart about joining the club, with former Derby County midfielder Adam Bolder.

Bolder has fitted straight into the heart of midfield and was impressive on Tuesday night when Town walked to a 5-0 win over Tadcaster Albion.

“I doubt there will be a better midfielder in the league this season,” said the Town number two.

“He just brings an extra dimension to the team and I think he’ll bring something to the league too.”

Another aspect that pleased Town’s management team on Tuesday was the performance of the local Harrogate lads who all contributed to the win.

Adam Nowakowski, Paul Beesley, Robbie Youhill and Josh Garbutt were all functioning parts in a well oiled machine.

Beesley grabbed a brace, as did Youhill. Garbutt finished off the scoring with another neat finish.

It all bodes well for the future of the club according to McDermott.

“Paul was fuming he didn’t get on on Saturday,” said McDermott, Town traveled to Ossett Albion at the weekend and drew 2-2.

“But he scored two great goals. Robbie was great too.

“We put him on up front. Maybe we’ve found a new position for him.”

After Saturday, attention will turn to next Wednesday when Town travel to local rivals Harrogate Railway in the annual John Smith’s Cup at Station View (7.45pm).

Both clubs can’t wait for the anticipating meeting. Rail’ are the current holders of the competition..

Rail’ are looking refreshed under new boss Billy Miller and number two Lee Ashforth.

They have made a number of exciting signings too, with the likes of Nathan Cartman joining the club.

One man who knows all about the fixture is Ashforth.

He played in goal for Rail’ in two cup clashes when Martin Haresign was in charge at Station View and knows the importance of the fixture.

“I think we lost twice narrowly,” he said.

“It’s never good when you’re in goal and a good few hundred are watching. We’re really looking forward to the game this time.”

In the Town camp, McDermott is also licking his lips.

“It’s a local derby and we’ll treat it like it is, we’ll be putting out our strongest side,” he added.

For more build up to Wednesday’s fixture, read the Harrogate Advertiser website or follow sports reporter @AndyGroves83 on Twitter.