TOWN’S 3-2 loss at Stalybridge Celtic in August still rests uneasy in the pit of Simon Weaver’s stomach.
A controversial injury-time winner for the hosts sparked wild celebrations by their management, which went slightly over the top, according to the Wetherby Road chief.
Weaver made a mental note of the incident, to use in a motivational speech before kick-off at the CNG tomorrow (3pm).
Ever since former Town boss John Reid upped sticks and moved to Staly’ in 2005 there has been added spice to the fixture.
Full-time ‘Bridge are riding high this season, but in-form Town, roused by Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Gainsborough Trinity, are in bullish mood according to their gaffer.
It promises to be an emotional game for Town, who will stand for a minute silence in memory of U-19s player Alex Emmett and former captain Lee Dutton before kick-off.
Black armbands will also be worn by the players.
“Everytime we go to Stalybridge, there seems a hostile reception from their fans to our players,” said Weaver.
“It’s probably down to things that happened between the two clubs before me.
“Even so, it’s added a bit of spice to the fixture.
“When we played at their place their goal was a controversial one, their bench ran on to the pitch and celebrated like they’d just won the cup, and we remember that.
“Everyone will be up for this one, I’m sure of that. The lads want it and we’re on a good run at the moment.
“We’ve won four out of our last five, yes one was in the County Cup but they all count towards gaining a bit of momentum.”
Town’s improving run may be enough to pull back some of the stay-away supporters tomorrow. Weaver’s side could move up to the dizzy heights of 13th if they win and other results go their way.
It’s a step in the right direction for Weaver, but he’s not getting carried away.
“We’ve had many false dawns in the three years I’ve been here,” he continued.
“But the improvement has been good. Saturday was an important result and should fill us with confidence because we’ve shown we can go to a side chasing promotion, get a clean sheet and win.”
‘Keeper Mark Cook was Town’s first-half hero at Gainsborough, pulling off a string of fine saves before the break.
Weaver’s men continued to battle hard in the second period, rewarded on 51 minutes with the opening goal.
Paul Heckingbottom’s long throw was flicked on by Richard Pell, and after Paul Brayson and Paul Bolland both had shots blocked, the ball rebounded to Robbie Youhill who smashed home his second goal for Town.
Despite an inevitable fightback from their opponents, Town held tight to collect another priceless win and inflight Trinity’s first double defeat for the season.
“You look at the side we’ve got at the moment, it’s really tight-knit and we look good,” said Weaver.
“Jonny Allan pulled up in the warm up so Chib Chilaka came in for his first start and it was like he’d never been away.
“I was delighted with them, it was hard to single anyone out for special praise because I thought they all put a shift in.”
Meanwhile, Town are preparing for next Wednesday’s County Cup semi-final against Bradford Park Avenue at the CNG Stadium (7.45pm ko).
It will see the return of former Wetherby Road legend John Deacey and assistant boss Mark Hulme.
The winners will play either Guiseley or Farsley at Valley Parade in April.
“We’re looking forward to that challenge,” added Weaver.
“I get on well with Mark, and have come up against him at many points during my career. He was a bit of a legend down here by all accounts, so I’m sure the fans will give him and John a good reception.”
lHarrogate Town U-19s team played their first game since the tragic death of Alex Emmett, beating Great Ouseburn 3-0 on Sunday.
The lads used the same armbands the first team squad used the day before. First team manager Weaver was present at the game and said the whole club could be proud of the way they played on the day, in emotional circumstances.
lSupporters can use the half-price vouchers meant for the postponed Corby game at tomorrow’s Celtic match.
It enables each adult to enter for £5, concessions for £2.50 and children under 16 £1.