Blue Square North

hsb  Knaresborough Town v Harrogate Town. Harrogate Manager Simon Weaver.  (120714M4d)
hsb Knaresborough Town v Harrogate Town. Harrogate Manager Simon Weaver. (120714M4d)

It’s Simon Weaver’s fourth season in charge of Harrogate Town and this year he’s aiming for success.

Town finished just above the relegation places last term after a nervy last game at Corby Town.

The Wetherby Road chief is desperate not to repeat this feat, assembling a strong squad capable of competing in the top half of Blue Square North.

However, he knows to do that they have to get off to a positive start, beginning with a trip to re-instated Hinckley United on Saturday (3pm).

“We’ve had them watched, they are a big strong side who like to get the ball forward,” said Weaver.

“Dean Thomas is manager there, he’ll be determined not to have the same season as they did last year when they were relegated and then re-instated.

“It’s going to be a tough game, we’ve got a really difficult start to the season.”

Town’s first home game arrives on Tuesday night when non league sleeping giants Altrincham roll into town (7.45pm ko).They will want a happier return to Cheshire after a last minute defeat to Town in the fixture last season.

It will also give Town fans the chance to see the CNG Stadium ‘s new look facilities which have been given a facelift over the summer.

Despite the summer’s poor weather, the pitch has been levelled and seeded.

A week on Saturday, derby rivals Bradford Park Avenue are the visitors. Managed by former Town legend John Deacey, they also look strong.

Weaver expects this season to be one of the toughest yet.

“I think it will be between Bradford and Altrincham at the end of the season,” added Weaver.

“They both have very good, experienced squads. There’s a lot of clubs investing heavily with players.

“It’s going to be really competitive, but we will be ready for it. We can’t wait.”

Talking of squads, Town’s players are bristling with confidence after a successful pre-season campaign.

Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at Middlesbrough was their only black mark. However, Weaver was pleased with the display.

“It was probably our best performance of pre-season,” he added.

“Yes we lost, but we played some really good football. It didn’t look like a Conference North side against a Championship side. I was really proud of the lads.”

For more build up to the new football season see Page 131.

For a story on new Town president George Dunnington turn to Page 129.