Harrogate Town will not approach Oldham Athletic clash any differently despite their urgent need for a win

In urgent need of a League Two victory though they are, Harrogate Town will approach Saturday’s showdown with Oldham Athletic just as they would any other.

By Rhys Howell
Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 8:39 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd January 2022, 8:42 am
Harrogate Town midfielder George Thomson. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC
Harrogate Town midfielder George Thomson. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC

The Sulphurites are winless in five matches having not secured three points since November 23, while their wait for a league success on home soil stretches back as far as early October.

But, long-serving midfielder George Thomson says that he and his team-mates will head into this weekend’s fixture against the bottom-of-the-table Latics with their usual mindset.

“Our focus going into Saturday will just be on delivering a performance that is worthy of winning the game,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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The Sulphurites have lost both of their last two games by a four-goal margin. Picture: Matt Kirkham

“That is how we approach every match and, although we are aware we haven’t won in the league in a while, we won’t be looking at this Oldham fixture any differently.

“We’re not viewing it as a massive fixture, it’s just another one where we have to do everything that we can to make sure that our performance levels are high enough.

“Newport last weekend was obviously really bad and this is the first home league game of the New Year, so I could say all the cliches in the world about wiping the slate clean etc, etc.

“But I am a believer that if we start putting in performance after performance then results will follow – because they do more often that not – and Oldham at home is our next opportunity to try and start that process.”

Thomson went on to explain that Town’s feelings regarding a return of just one point from the last 15 on offer at Wetherby Road are similarly philosophical.

“We are obviously aware that it’s been a while since we won at home in the league, but it’s not a specific conversation that we’ve had ahead of Saturday,” he added.

“I suppose you could potentially use it as an additional motivating factor in terms of trying to get a result against Oldham, however I don’t believe this group of players is in need of motivation– we’re all desperate to do well for this club anyway.

“We know that the home form is something that we need to put right. If you want to be successful, you have to make your home ground a bit of a fortress and be able to pick up points along the way when you go away from home.

“So, the aim for the second half of the season is to improve that home form, but like I say, we go into every game with the aim of putting in a display that will be enough to win us the match, regardless of whether we are playing at home or away.”

Town’s two previous outings have ended in 4-0 defeats and while that scoreline was not a true reflection of how well they performed at Championship Luton in the FA Cup earlier this month, their display against Newport County last Saturday was every bit as bad as a four-goal margin suggests.

“We were nowhere near the levels that are required of us and the standards we usually set,” Thomson continued.

“To be honest, every loss hurts, however from the point of view of the players, that performance against Newport was not acceptable .

“We just weren’t ourselves, we couldn’t find any rhythm or build the play as we normally do. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why things unfolded they way they did, but obviously the responsibility lies with us as players.

“You can talk about the lack of fans in the stadium and there being no atmosphere, but we can’t use excuses. We are all professional athletes, we have to be capable of producing a performance and doing our jobs regardless.

“I just know that it wasn’t a nice feeling losing a game like that against a team who didn’t even need to play at their best to beat us 4-0. It’s not a feeling I want to get used to.

“It’s not something I want to experience again and we have to make sure that when we run out against Oldham we play a million times better than we did last weekend.”

Kick-off at the EnviroVent Stadium on Saturday afternoon is at 3pm.