Crewe Alexandra v Harrogate Town: Familiar approach expected by Simon Weaver on the road

Harrogate Town might be trying something different with their 3-4-2-1 formation, but they know what they will be getting at Crewe Alexandra this afternoon.

Usually a 4-4-2 manager, Simon Weaver began tinkering last season to try to find a better balance but never got there as the Sulphurites leaked an alarming number of goals.

But the signs were they might have hit on a winning formula in their 3-0 victory over Swindon Town on the opening day of League Two.

Although they were relegated to the fourth tier last season, Crewe are a very ideological club when it comes to how the game should be played, and have stuck to last season’s approach with the only changes being to personnel. They too got off to a winning start, beating Rochdale 2-1.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

“They’re quite settled in the 4-2-3-1 system that they play and they’ve got a lot of good players,” said Weaver.

“They’ve added some more experience to their group in the summer and have got a strong frontline.

“They’re a real set-piece threat and a good footballing side at the same time, but they’re also not afraid to go direct into their big frontman.

“With them winning away from home last weekend, I expect that we’ll be going in there and facing a lively atmosphere, so we are expecting another tough test.

“But, we passed our first test of the season last time out and we’re allowed to go to Crewe feeling positive.”

Harrogate have been boosted by Alex Pattinson’s return to training after the midfielder was forced off with a dead leg last week.

“He played very well against Swindon and obviously he is a player who we think will be vital for us this season,” said his manager.