SIMON WEAVER insists Harrogate Town’s Skrill North play-off dream is still alive.
Ninth-placed Town, inactive on New Year’s Day, start 2014 with a teak-tough opener at home to leaders AFC Telford tomorrow, with Weaver’s side seeking to clinch a famous double after winning against the ten-man Bucks in Shropshire earlier this term.
Town have been inconsistently consistent so far in 2013-14, with the challenge being to follow in the footsteps of local rivals Guiseley and put a sustained run of wins together to propel themselves into the top-five reckoning. Weaver, whose side are eight points adrift of the final play-off place, said: “We’ll keep on going, even though there are some very strong teams in the division this season. I think we are progressing and it’s about taking a core group of players into next year.
“Players have got to vie for their spots in the squad for next year, while we want to finish as high as possible with the play-off dream still alive. It’s a very open league and anyone who grabs things by the scruff of the neck has a chance. We need more from the players now. We’ve been consistent with (using) the players, but have been having inconsistent results.”
On Telford, he added: “We know what they are about. Even when they went down to ten men against us, they still threw everything forward. They are a very direct team; probably the most direct in the league and they do it well, with Liam Watson having been promoted before by playing that type of football. It works well for them. They beat up Hednesford 5-3 last time and most of their goals came from set-pieces. We will have to handle that physical approach.”
The weather remains not the only thing that Weaver is hoping relents ahead of tomorrow, with the Town boss also keeping his fingers crossed there are no issues with the officials, with four penalties awarded in their last home game, the Boxing Day derby with Guiseley. Weaver, whose side’s trip to Nethermoor on Wednesday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, added: “It was a very good game between two good teams. But it was almost three teams out there and the referee was blowing his whistle, right from minute one and at times it was a bit baffling and there also wasn’t much experience on the sidelines. With a bit of pressure on them, they seemed to buckle. But that’s water under the bridge now and things will balance out.”
Adam Bolder, Brad Abbott, Ashley Worsfold, Leigh Franks and Dominic Rowe are expected to still be out for Town tomorrow.
Level on points with Town, but with two games in hand, Guiseley – the form horse in Skrill North in the final few months of 2013 – hope to start the new calendar year how they finished the old one with victory at Brackley. Bradford Park Avenue entertain Worcester City.