Simon Weaver backs Warren Burrell after Harrogate Town defender makes another costly error in Rochdale AFC draw

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver said he "can't be angry" with Warren Burrell after the experienced centre-half "held his hand up" for another costly mistake.

By Rhys Howell
Sunday, 13th February 2022, 8:29 am
Updated Sunday, 13th February 2022, 8:30 am
Harrogate Town defender Warren Burrell. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town defender Warren Burrell. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

With the Sulphurites 3-1 up in Saturday's League Two clash at Rochdale at the time, the long-serving 31-year-old was outmuscled and then outpaced by Alex Newby following an indecisive bit of defending deep inside his own half.

The Dale attacker was able to advance down the right and into the visitors' box before finding Stephen Dooley, who crossed for Abraham Otoh to fire home, sparking a comeback which saw the hosts eventually go on to level matters at 3-3.

Just four days earlier, Burrell dithered in a similar area of the pitch and was caught out by Crawley's Tom Nichols, who crossed for Nick Tsaroulla to put the Red Devils 2-1 ahead, setting them on their way to victory.

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Simon Weaver applauds Harrogate Town's travelling support following Saturday's 3-3 draw at Rochdale.

Weaver has been angered by his side's defensive fragility on a number of occasion this season and went on to say that "individual errors" again cost Town the game on Saturday, though he refused to be overly-critical of Burrell.

"I can't be angry with Warren because he's just turned around in the dressing room and said 'listen, it happened the other night, it was me'. He held his hand up for the second goal," the Harrogate boss revealed.

"I've been in loads of changing rooms with lots and lots of players over the last 13 years and not many do that.

"And so that is why we are prepared to work with him and if he goes and keeps a clean-sheet at centre-half on Tueday, we'll pat him on the back and say 'fantastic' because his mental strength, as he has shown in his life, is second to none.

"There's a fine line when it comes to knowing when just to put the ball into the stand. I love him to bits, but he's got to find that and know when the ball has to go. And then, if it doesn't go and the player is in behind him, he has to haul him down."

While naturally disappointed to see Town surrender a commanding lead handed to them by Alex Pattison's first-half brace and a Jack Diamond strike two minutes after the interval, Weaver said after Saturday's match that his players are still "learning on the job" at League Two level and insisted they "deserve" to be afforded the time to do so.

And the Harrogate chief is of the opinion that Burrell as an individual has enough credit in the bank to warrant both forgiveness and the opportunity to improve.

He added: "I think these lads trust the fact that they can be honest here in a game that is brutal at times and this is his home, so we've got to give him the opportunity to learn from his mistakes.

"All players at this level make mistakes and he's got a chance to go again as long as he shows that kind of honesty.

"He's still an athlete, his work-ethic is brilliant, he's a leader and we've got to be able to forgive as well as point the finger sometimes."

Versatile Burrell has clocked up more than 300 competitive appearances across two spells as a Town player, the second of which began in 2016 and has seen him go on to play a key role in promotions from National League North and the National League.

Saturday's draw at Rochdale keeps Harrogate 13th in the League Two standings with 38 points to their name from 29 games.