SIMON WEAVER is calling on Harrogate Town to stay mentally strong ahead of this evening’s key National League North home encounter with play-off-chasing Spennymoor – the first part of a crunch four-match sequence for the title-chasers.
Town, who trail leaders Salford City by a point, will move two points clear if they see off the Moors tonight, with Weaver’s side playing their game in hand this evening against the north-easterners, who have the considerable incentive themselves of moving into the play-offs if they triumph.
After tackling the Moors, Town then visit third-placed Brackley on Good Friday before hosting sixth-placed Blyth Spartans on Easter Monday – ahead of a huge North Yorkshire derby at York City, who are currently fifth, on April 7.
On a potentially defining spell, Weaver, whose side are chasing an eighth successive home league victory after a 2-0 weekend triumph over Gainsborough Trinity, said: “You only have to look at the strength and ability in this group of teams at this level.
“You only had to look what Gainsborough had out there on Saturday and Spennymoor have upped the ante again and we will have to use the same resolve.
“It is all hotting up and I think it has been a good thing that the play-offs have been extended to seventh place and they have done it right and it keeps it interesting for the majority of the league – whether it is staying up or getting into the play-offs.”
The Moors, currently just one place outside of the play-offs, have several games in hand on the sides above them and still have 12 matches to fit in before season’s end, but Weaver has no doubts about their threat.
“It cannot be easy for them and they have probably been a victim of their own success really with the cup games and postponements added to the mix,” Weaver added.
“But I went to watch them on a freezing night the other evening when they beat Leamington and they have good attacking attributes, without any shadow of a doubt, and they will be a handful.”
Last night former Leeds United striker Frank Mulhern scored twice as Bradford Park Avenue came from behind to beat AFC Telford 2-1 in National League North.
Mulhern (54 and 87) struck after Marcus Dinanga (42) gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot.
In Evo-Stik League North, 14th-placed Ossett Town face a tough trip to second-placed South Shields tonight, while neighbours Ossett Albion – struggling in 20th position – play at Radcliffe Borough.
Frickley Athletic travel to Swallownest for a Sheffield and Hallam Senior Cup quarter-final clash.
In the NCE Premier Division, promotion-chasing Pontefract Collieries play one of their five games in hand on leaders AFC Mansfield when they host Penistone Church.
If Pontefract can chalk up their 11th straight league victory, they will move to within two points of Mansfield.
Third-placed Pickering Town, who are themselves just three points behind Collieries, travel to Rainworth MW.
Elsewhere, ninth-placed Hemsworth MW host Staveley MW while fourth-from-bottom Harrogate Railway play at Barton Town.
In NCE Division One, Yorkshire Amateur and Selby Town will both want to get back to winning ways when they meet at Bracken Edge.