Harrogate Town’s league campaign may have been on pause for three weeks but it was definitely worth the wait as Simon Weaver’s troops crushed Corby 6-1 on Tuesday night.
The rampant performance at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium lifted the Wetherby Road men to 10th in Blue Square North, setting them up nicely for this Saturday’s hosting of Guiseley (3pm).
Tuesday’s victory also heralded the arrival of new striker Dominic Knowles, who made an immediate impact with a brace against Corby hours after signing from Gainsborough.
After a tense first half ended nil-nil, Robbie Youhill opened Town’s account before Chib Chilaka netted twice, once from the penalty spot.
Ex-Burnley youth player Knowles then grabbed his brace, including another penalty, before Corby pulled one back. However sub Adam Baker rounded off a great night with Town’s sixth against the Steelmen.
Weaver wants another big performance from his new recruit against Guiseley, and against Workington at York City on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
“I’m not sure at half-time anyone could have predicted it would end 6-1 as it’s not a great pitch at the Keepmoat but it was great for Dom to score twice on his debut,” said Weaver.
“He played a role in Chib’s first goal too and scoring goals is what he’s here for.
“He’s a classic centre-forward with great movement, and he picked the ball up for his penalty which showed the confidence you want from a striker.
“He’s an ambitious lad who strives to go further, and we want to help him do that.
“But it was good to see Adam Baker score too - the three centreforwards all scored.
“We defended well in the first half but needed to drop off and play the bigger area.
“Once we did that, we played some great stuff.
“It was a big improvement.”
Town are set to play their first game at home since December 15 this weekend, but Wednesday’s heavy rain could mean problems for the recovering pitch, and it’s likely to require an inspection.
“It was looking good at the start of the week but we’ll have to see as there’s been a lot of rain,” said Weaver.
“It’s frustrating for us, we get a good crowd against Guiseley and after the Corby game we want to keep the momentum going for the fans.
“Guiseley will be a good indicator of how we’re doing. They’re second and it’ll be useful to see how we compete.
“Workington will be tricky but they’ve lost a few players since we beat them 2-1. Hopefully being at York means it’s a bit easier for fans to come and support us.”
If they keep winning, Town are well-poised to stake a claim on the play-offs.
Runaway leaders Chester are 41 points in front of Town and 16 ahead of nearest challengers Guiseley, but Town are only four points off fifth-placed Altrincham with three games in hand.
“We’ve got games in hand over everyone except Halifax and it’s tight but I think fourth and fifth are the two spots to play for,” said Weaver.
“Not being able to play for three weeks hasn’t been ideal but the lads have trained a lot in trying conditions and we’ve done a lot of running and old-school core work like sit-ups.
“But we need to play, we need key players fit, and can’t afford any hiccups.”
After picking up a knock against Corby, defender Alan White required an x-ray on a rib on Wednesday and is doubtful for Guiseley.
Injured centre back Shane Killock is definitely out, as are striker Jonny Allan and midfielder Adam Nowakowski.
Goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray returns after a one-match suspension.