Following their goalless midweek draw at Eastleigh, Aldershot Town return to the EBB Stadium on Saturday to take on second placed Harrogate Town.
Simon Weaver’s ‘Town’ are enjoying an excellent second season in the National League and are currently top of the form guide, having taken 18 points from their last 8 league games.
Manager Danny Searle should have a full squad to choose from with Kodi Lyons-Foster due to return after a one match suspension. George Fowler is unlikely to be involved as he is short of match fitness following his recover from a long-term leg injury. New signing Jean Ives Koue Niate made an excellent debut at Eastleigh on Tuesday and provided he recovers well, looks set to continue alongside Alex Finney at the heart of The Shots defence.
Name: Harrogate Town A.F.C.
Founded: 1914 (as Harrogate AFC)
Manager: Simon Weaver
Stadium: CNG Stadium
Final position last season: 6th in National League (made the play-offs)
Current National League position: 2nd
Harrogate AFC were formed in 1914, but properly ‘kicked off’ after the war in the 1919/20 season. In 1948, the club were renamed Harrogate Town. They announced at the end of the 2016/17 season that they were going to become a full-time professional club and won promotion to the top tier of Non-League last season.
Simon Weaver is in his twelfth season as Town’s manager, which makes him one of England’s longest serving football bosses. His biggest achievements, alongside promotion to the National League two seasons ago, include a fourth-place finish in the National League North in 2015/16 and an FA Cup 2nd Round appearance in 2012/13.
Weaver’s main loss from last season was Centre Back Callum Howe, who signed for fellow play-off outfit Solihull Moors. He kept twelve players on from last season, including; Keeper James Belshaw, Defender Ryan Fallowfield, midfielders Warren Burrell (who scored a hat-trick against Shots last season) and Josh Falkingham, plus strikers Jack Muldoon (top scorer with 10 goals to date) and Mark Beck. In total, eleven new players joined at the start of the season for Weaver’s latest push for promotion to the EFL, including; Left Back George Smith from Chesterfield, Centre Back Connor Hall (4 goals since signing from Brackley), Midfielder Brendan Kiernan from Welling (eight goals to date) and ‘evergreen’ striker Jon Stead. More recently, Weaver has brought in a couple of loan signings – both due to stay until February; Left Back Owen Gallagher (from Notts Forest) and 17-year-old Striker Kian Harratt (Huddersfield Town).
Saturday’s referee is Paul Howard, who has taken charge of 11 National League matches so far this season, showing 26 yellow cards & 2 red cards. He refereed Shots 3-1 home win against Eastleigh on New Year’s Day.
There will be live BBC Surrey Sport commentary of Saturday’s game, with Rob Worrall and a Special Guest, from 2:50pm. To interact with the commentary team, tweet @RobShot66.