Conference North: Start gives Harrogate Town food for thought

NADV 1408093AM1 Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver v Tamworth.(1408093AM1)
NADV 1408093AM1 Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver v Tamworth.(1408093AM1)

Simon Weaver insists no one at Harrogate Town “has their head down” after an opening week without a win.

Town had the lion share of the chances as they played out a goalless draw against relegated Conference side Tamworth in the opener on Saturday.

Phil Barnes’ error then presented a 2-1 victory to Yorkshire rivals Bradford Park Avenue in the derby at the Horsfall Stadium on Monday night.

Despite the defeats, Weaver was encouraged that Town had more efforts on goal than both Tamworth and Bradford.

He said: “Nobody has their heads down. You can’t keep creating more chances than the opposition and not win.

“If we focus solely on the outcome, people get a little bit tense. I got a lot of straps on my back after the game on Monday for the recruitment.

“It may take a few weeks for it to click because of the new players. But we believe in them.”

Weaver said Barnes had apologised “on the pitch” after the defeat to Bradford, which he said, cost Town a point or maybe three.

The veteran goalkeeper, signed from Gainsborough Trinity in the summer, dropped a free-kick and former Town hero Chib Chilaka stabbed home the rebound from close range.

“If it wasn’t for that, we would have drawn but that’s the business we are in,” Weaver added. “I said to him, don’t worry about it, every keeper makes mistakes. You see Joe Hart making mistakes.

“We had it last season with Craig (MacGillivray) and he then came through 42 games. We believe Phil will do the same.”

James Walshaw scored his first goal for the club and his early season form is crucial to Weaver, with long-term injuries to Ashley Worsfold and Jake Speight.

Speight should return in September, but Weaver was given more injury headaches over the weekend when Ryan Kendall injured his ankle.

The boss brought former Town striker Colin Larkin back to the club on Friday, but the former Hartlepool United player has picked up a groin niggle.

That means Walshaw will again lead the line alongside impressive youngster Louis Swain again this weekend when Town go to last season’s surprise package Hednesford.

Hednesford have lost both their opening matches, but Weaver said the Staffordshire club would provide a difficult afternoon.

“We have some hard games coming up just at a time that we are suffering,” Weaver added.

“Hednesford have been similar to story us. They have dominated possession and created chances but not got the wins.

“We have an important job to keep players’ heads up.”