Weaver’s injury lists grows as Town hunt Hinckley win

NADV 1201252 Harrogate Town forum. (1201252AM)
NADV 1201252 Harrogate Town forum. (1201252AM)

AFTER a grilling by the club’s fans on Wednesday night, Simon Weaver and Harrogate Town will welcome Hinckley United tomorrow to the CNG Stadium for their biggest game so far of 2012 (3pm).

A victory for 17th-placed Town would pull them six points clear of third bottom Hinckley.

Defeat, not an option according to Weaver, could see them slip into the relegation zone if other results don’t go their way.

It’s been another tough week off the pitch for the gaffer, who lost another key player in the run up to tomorrow’s clash.

Michael Brough, who only recently joined the club, tore his hamstring during Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Altrincham, and will be out for five to six weeks.

The former Mansfield Town man was made captain by Weaver after making an immediate impact since his arrival.

He joins Adam Nowakowski, Danny Stimpson and Liam Hardy on the long-term injury list. The club revealed Hardy will now be out for a year after an operation on his cruciate ligament this week.

When asked about the importance of tomorrow’s fixture, Weaver said his team are up against it with their “extraordinary” injury situation.

“To lose Broughy is a big blow,” he said.

“We know how important the game is on Saturday. I don’t like to go on about injuries but I can’t think of anything like it. But the players need to realise how tough it is at the moment and pull through this difficult spell.

“If we get a win on Saturday, it will fill us with the confidence to build on it.”

Meanwhile, Town take a break from the league on Tuesday when they travel to Ossett Albion in the quarter-final of the County Cup (7.45pm ko).

Weaver won’t decide until the night whether to field his regular first team or give Town’s promising youngsters a chance to shine.

“It just depends on Saturday’s game,” he said.

“I don’t know at the moment, it’s difficult because in a way if we win it will be nice to keep the same team and get a bit of consistency.”

Victory for Town would set up a home clash against either Bradford Park Avenue or Armthorpe Welfare in the semi-final in March.

The final will be played again at Bradford City’s stadium.

On Wednesday, Town chairman Irving Weaver, physio Matt Hall-Naylor, psychologist Phil Lee and fitness coach John Gray were all on hand to field questions from Town’s long-suffering supporters.

Following on from their open forum in the summer, the quintet offered an insight into the short and long term vision for the club.

Subjects such as a new supporters club, reverting back to the old style home kits and Town’s full-time status next season were all covered.

Irving Weaver confirmed work on levelling the pitch is still on course to take place at the end of season.

When asked where pre-season football will be played, he opened up the possibility of playing at different venues around Harrogate and said he would contact other clubs to see if they could use their facilities.

“It will be better than St James’ Park when it’s done, I’ve been told, in terms of it being leveller,” added Weaver Senior.

“It’s quite a major improvement for us, but it’s one we really need to do.”

The first stage in Town’s redevelopment will be the opening of a sponsors lounge, which is due to be finished in March. A new office, club shop and a planned development of the Wetherby Road stand is also in the pipeline.

One thing Town’s hierarchy all agreed on was their precarious standing in the Blue Square North table. They realise in order to attract more fans through the gate, they have to start winning games.

“I can tell we’re 17th at the moment, you’re all looking glum,” said Town’s chairman as the questions dried up in the room.

“We know what we have to do. It’s been frustrating for us but we’re all working hard to turn it around, bear with us.”

On Saturday, Weaver gave a start to new central defender Patrece Liburd but he was at fault for one of Altrincham’s two first half goals.

A Paul Brayson brace either side of half-time levelled the match.

But three further Alty strikes handed them the points.