REMEMBER, remember the month of November – Harrogate Town certainly will.
More especially the date of November 17, when Town crashed 4-0 in a one-sided FA Trophy third-qualifying round replay loss at Bradford Park Avenue, arguably their lowest ebb in 2013-14.
Town may have won 1-0 thanks to Craig Nelthorpe’s late strike in the West Riding County Cup at the start of that month, but it was their clash soon after that made considerably more headlines and had more impact.
Simon Weaver’s side have the chance to claim a bit of pay-back against John Deacey’s Avenue in Skrill North at the CNG Stadium tomorrow, weather permitting, but while the line-up he fields won’t be as depleted as the one on that horror Monday night in mid-November, the Town boss feels the task will be just as tough.
Town were put to the sword, largely thanks to a James Knowles treble and despite his side’s fine home form this term, which is effectively ensuring they still can make a pitch for the play-offs, Weaver sees inherent dangers in Avenue.
Weaver, hoping that Ashley Worsfold will feature despite issues with his hamstring, said: “We had six out on the night and it was difficult against trying opposition and everything went against us, although credit to them – they were the better team.
“We were poor on the night and the referee performed badly, although that didn’t have a massive impact. We struggled against a strong team.
“It would be nice to see progression on Saturday.
“It’s a good test of ourselves and if we come out with three points, it will be a massive boost.”
Five points separate eighth-placed Town, on 39 points, and Avenue, three positions behind them, with Guiseley, with plenty of games in hand, lying in tenth spot on 35 points.
It could be an intriguing battle for the top-five for all the Yorkshire trio between now and mid-spring, all being well and if Town continue to display the character which has seen them come from behind to win their last two league games, their cause will certainly be aided.
Weaver added: “It’s great to come from behind and win. I was talking to Matt Heath this week and even he said it’s not very often in his career where that has happened twice in a row and the fact we have some fighters should calm all the nerves down.
“We are still hanging in there and our home form on paper is almost as good as anyone’s. The pitch helps as we like to play good football on the floor, although our last home win wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination.
“I do think it will be as hard as they come this weekend because Avenue will enjoy playing on a good pitch.
“I saw them on Monday and they play three at the back and it works for them with the wing-backs pushing on. They are a very good attacking team and with the numbers they have got, you have to make sure things are right in midfield and you match them up tactically.”
Guiseley are hoping for a weather break to enable them to take the field at Nethermoor for the first time since Boxing Day at home to out-of-form Stalybridge Celtic tomorrow.
Lions boss Mark Bower, mindful of his side’s intensive looking schedule over the next six weeks, has promised to make changes regardless of Tuesday’s fine 3-0 Skrill North success at Soilhull Moors, which could signal a debut for Adam Boyes.
The 23-year-old Gateshead striker has joined for the rest of the season and will add competition to the Lions’ striking department.
Boyes netted for former club Barrow – who Guiseley visit on Tuesday – in an FA Trophy game last term.
In the Skrill Premier, Neil Aspin’s FC Halifax, one point off the play-offs, visit Aldershot.