Rugby Union: Aspinall urges rested Harrogate to ‘upset apple cart’

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Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall urged his mid-table men to cause a shock and unhinge Macclesfield’s title quest.

Promotion-chasing Macclesfield head to Claro Road on Saturday for the rearranged National Two North clash postponed on February 1.

Harrogate gave the Lancashire side a scare on their travels earlier this season when they scored four tries despite losing 48-28.

Aspinall is hopeful the Claro Road pitch will allow his men to play their fluent attacking style, with the visitors’ forwards the strongest in the league (2pm ko).

Macclesfield are challenging for the title alongside Darlington Mowden Park and Stourbridge, and Aspinall said the battle was too close to call.

He said: “I really don’t know where it will go between the three of them. It will be a tight finish.”

Prop Jimmy Browne’s unavailability will present Ben Reaveley with a starting berth. Will Dutton, Gate’s new signing from York or Dom Mussetti could feature on the bench.

Tom Harvey returned to training on Tuesday but Andy Boyde and Steve Maycock remain long-term absentees.

Aspinall added: “We are picking from strength.

“We now have our full-back line fit and available.”

Last weekend’s trip to Birmingham Solihull was postponed on Friday owing to a waterlogged pitch.

With Gate now 20 points behind fifth-placed Chester, Aspinall has switched his focus to catching Solihull in sixth, just four points above his eighth-placed side.

“We have to finish the season strongly,” he said.

“Games against Macclesfield are a bonus but if we can upset the apple cart it makes things easier when hunting sixth-place.

“I would be over the moon with sixth, a positive points difference and finishing as the best National Two North team in Yorkshire.”