Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham doesn’t want to see season ‘wasted’

Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham says he remains hopeful regarding the club’s chances of promotion to the Football League.

HOPEFUL: Harrogate Town captain, Josh Falkingham. Picture cpourtesy of Matt Kirkham

The Wetherby Road outfit looked nailed on for a play-off place at the very least when the National League season was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With all remaining fixtures now cancelled, Town’s hopes of going up seemingly depend upon two things; play-offs in the National League taking place and League Two reaching its natural conclusion.

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‘If the National League completes its play-offs following the existing approved format and League Two completes its season, it is reasonable to assume the National League play-off winner can be promoted as the ‘National League runner- up,’ a statement released by the National League’s board last month explained.

Thus, reports suggesting that League One and Two’s seasons are set to be abandoned later this week do not bode well for Falkingham and his team-mates, although the Harrogate captain isn’t ruling anything out at this stage.

“I’m just hoping and praying,” he said.

”It does look like League One and League Two’s seasons will be abandoned and if you go back a couple of weeks, it seemed pretty clear that if that ended up happening, then two teams wouldn’t go up from the National League.

“But, the situation seems to be changing all the time, and it is my understanding that might not be the case now. 

“You hear all sorts of things, all different rumours. There is talk of teams being promoted in the Football League, but nobody being relegated. So, if three go up from League Two, but nobody comes down from League One, then surely they will need clubs to go up from our division make up the numbers.

“Rick Parry has spoken about three clubs dropping down from the Premier League and three replacing them from the Championship. If that is the case, then you would like to think that the same thing will filter down all the way through the divisions as far down as League Two and the National League.”

The National League announced last week that it will wait for the Football League (EFL) to make a decision on how it plans to conclude 2019-20 before attempting to determine issues of promotion and relegation.

And this move has been welcomed by Falkingham, who had led Town to second in the National League standings when competition was suspended.

“To be honest, I think that the National League has made the right decision in waiting to see what the EFL do,” added the 29-year-old midfielder.

“There have been discussions and votes on what to do next, however until we know what will happen with League Two, or what the EFL will allow in terms of promotion, I think we are better off sitting and waiting. 

“Don’t get me wrong, we are desperate to find out what is happening because so much hard work has gone into this season and to getting us where we are, but until we get confirmation, it’s all just speculation.

“It is frustrating, I’m not going to lie. I’m not the most patient person and this all feels a bit surreal.”

Declaring 2019-20 null and void remains a possibility, but for Falkingham that would be the worst possible outcome.

He added: “We are 80 per cent of the way through the season, so it would be really sad if that happened, such a waste.”

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