THE spice is right for a derby cracker at the CNG Stadium on Boxing Day – according to Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.
Eighth-placed Town may go into the eagerly-anticipated Skrill North encounter with Guiseley on the back of a defeat at Worcester City, but spirits have in no way been dented after a head-turning upturn in late autumn and early winter.
Weaver, whose eighth-placed side are three points and one place above Guiseley, said: “I can’t fault the lads for the last couple of month’s work. Winning seven games out of nine is brilliant and we will dust ourselves down and get on it against Guiseley who are on a brilliant run.
“They play the game the right way and always have done. They also have a very, very strong squad.
“I know Mark (Bower) and spoke to him a couple of years ago about coming to us actually. He’s a really nice guy and the lads are playing for him there.
“It will be good to see him and will be a good game against a talented bunch, who know how to grind out a win and are very good on the counter-attack as well.
“In front of a big crowd, we hope to have that spark.
“I think it will be a tight game and a case of who turns up on the day. Both sets of players are talented and that has been proved in the last few months.”
Boxing Day’s derby appointment is the first ‘leg’ of a double-header with Guiseley, with the second instalment taking place at Nethermoor on New Year’s Day. Weaver admits his resources may be more plentiful for the second clash, with Liam Hardy, Dominic Rowe and Leigh Franks all struggling for the December 26 meeting.
He added: “It will be nice to get off to a good start against them and take it into that away game full of confidence.
“But the two games will be very different and we might have a couple more players to choose from in the second one.”
Weaver’s counterpart Bower has confirmed that Danny Boshell could come back into the reckoning for the short trip to Harrogate.
Danny Lockwood and Danny Forrest are also on the mend and may also be available for the derby encounter. Also envisaging an occasion to savour at the CNG, Bower said: “Harrogate are on a good run themselves and it will be difficult.
“We have got some hard fixtures over the Christmas period.
“But if we have the same level of commitment that we had at Altrincham, we have every chance of getting a result.
“After equalising late on at Altrincham, it felt like a victory in the dressing room.”
As well as local bragging rights, Guiseley’s top-notch 14-game unbeaten run will be on the line when they take Harrogate on Boxing Day, along with local bragging rights,
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