Aldershot Town v Harrogate Town Match Preview – Saturday 18th August 2018
Aldershot Town picked up their first victory of the season at the EBB Stadium on Tuesday evening, with a 2-1 win over struggling Dagenham & Redbridge, with Scott Rendell (somewhat dubiously) and Shamir Fenelon on the scoresheet. On Saturday, The Shots are at home again and take on newly-promoted Harrogate Town, who are unbeaten in their opening four matches at this level. On Tuesday evening, they beat Barnet 2-0.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Town manager Gary Waddock made three changes to his starting line-up on Tuesday, with Luke Howell making his Shots debut and Shamir Fenelon and Scott Rendell returning to the side. Already without injured skipper Karleigh Osborne (Achilles), Waddock then lost his other first choice centre-back George Fowler to a knee injury, and the former Ipswich Town defender is unlikely to be available this weekend. Marvin McCoy is yet to make his Shots debut having been injured throughout pre-season. Shots favourite Jake Gallagher, who has been left out of Waddock’s squad for the last two matches, will be hoping for a return to the squad of sixteen.
Opposition – Harrogate Town FC:
Manager: Simon Weaver
Stadium: The CNG Stadium, Whetherby Road (Capacity: 4,000)
2017-18 National League position: 2nd )promoted via the Play-Offs)
Harrogate AFC were formed after World War One, in time for the 1919-20 season. In 1948, the club were renamed Harrogate Town. More recently, ‘Town’ announced at the end of the 2016/17 season that they were going to become a full-time professional club.
Simon Weaver has been Town’s manager for ten seasons and is one of England’s longest-serving football managers. His biggest achievements, alongside promotion to the National League last season, include a fourth-place finish in the National League North in 2015-16 and an FA Cup Second Round appearance in 2012-13.
Town lost just 2 players (Simon Ainge to Darlington and Jake Wright to York City) in the close season and released seven more, including experienced defender John McCombe. Crucially, they retained the services of the prolific Dom Knowles (25 goals last season) and Joe Leesley, who has scored 30 goals and assisted 50 in just over 100 games for the club.
Weaver has shown great faith in the squad that earned promotion from the National League North last season, retaining 15 players from that squad. He has added just five players, but all are key additions. They include: defenders Callum Howe (Port Vale) and Kelvin Langmead (Nuneaton Town) and Liam Kitching (loan from Leeds United), and, in attack, the prolific Aaron Williams (40 goals for Brackley Town last season) and Jack Muldoon from AFC Fylde, who scored in Fylde’s 7-1 thumping of The Shots last season.
Saturday’s referee is Alan Dale, who will be taking charge of his fourth National League match of the season. Last term, he took the middle in 18 National League matches, showing 59 yellow cards and 2 red cards. He did not referee Aldershot Town last season.
BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall and a special guest will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary. To interact, tweet @RobShot66.