Weaver keen for Harrogate to exploit home advantage in derby

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THE pain of a derby loss is always keenly felt and manager Simon Weaver will be using that to motivate his Harrogate Town players tomorrow, writes LEON WOBSCHALL.

Town, who have steadied the ship after an abject start to the Vanarama North season, welcome struggling Bradford Park Avenue, who made light of Harrogate’s early toils to beat them 2-1 at the Horsfall Stadium in August.

Avenue, whose winner came from ex-Town forward Chib Chilaka, have seen their fortunes plummet since early season, although Weaver is taking nothing as read tomorrow against John Deacey’s side, who they met five times last term, with each winning a game apiece alongside three draws.

He said: “The derbies are always passionate games and you can rip up the form book, can’t you?

“With derby games, it is who turns up on the day and who is at their best.

“Both teams will be going at it hammer and tongs and they have got a few links with Harrogate and John Deacey obviously used to play and manage the club. It will be a difficult game against Bradford.

“Hopefully, we will put on a good display in front of our home fans.

“We know plenty about each other, but since the start of the season, Bradford have made a lot of changes from the 11 who played against us.

“We don’t know as much this time around.

“But hopefully, we can put out a different performance as we were disappointed not to get anything there and now want to drive home our home advantage.”

After their lacklustre seasonal opening, Town are showing genuine signs of consistency for the first time this season, with recent away wins in league and FA Trophy in the far-flung venues of King’s Lynn and Colwyn Bay, respectively, auguring particularly well.

Weaver added: “We have won six out of eight and one of the sides who have beaten us in Worcester are beating everything in their path at the minute.

“But we are making good progress and playing some decent stuff and we have had two good away wins at King’s Lynn and Colwyn Bay in anyone’s book at this level.

“Injures didn’t help at the start of the season.

“But the last six weeks have been better, although we suffered two injuries in the week with Leigh Franks injuring his hamstring and Lloyd Kerry also getting injured just as I was going to bring him off and rest him,” said Weaver.