Harrogate Town v Newport County: Injury blows offset by options for Simon Weaver

Harrogate Town will be forced into a midfield reshuffle for today’s visit of Newport County.

With both Stephen Dooley and George Thomson ruled out, Simon Weaver needs to find another partner for Josh Austerfield in the Sulphurites’ engine room.

Summer signing Dooley, who started each of Town’s first four league matches before damaging his groin at Gillingham, missed last weekend’s defeat to Barrow and is still yet to recover.

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And there is worse news for Thomson, who took Dooley’s place in the centre of the park up in Cumbria, only to be forced off through injury shortly after half-time.

ROAD TO RECOVERY: Harrogatr Town captain Josh Falkingham Picture: Bruce RollinsonROAD TO RECOVERY: Harrogatr Town captain Josh Falkingham Picture: Bruce Rollinson
ROAD TO RECOVERY: Harrogatr Town captain Josh Falkingham Picture: Bruce Rollinson

A scan has subsequently revealed that the hamstring problem which cut short the 30-year-old’s afternoon will now rule him out until at least late October.

Thus, influential No 10 Alex Pattison may have to drop back into a deeper role or young academy graduate George Horbury could be handed his League Two debut.

Alternatively, throwing fit-again captain Josh Falkingham straight back in is an option with him finally having recovered from a troublesome foot issue.

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“Thommo will be out for some considerable time now with his hamstring, we are looking at two or three months, unfortunately, it’s a real blow to us,” said Weaver.

“Stephen needed an injection yesterday (Wednesday), so Saturday will come too soon for him, which is a blow to us because he’s been as good as any midfielder in the league, for me.

“But, we’ve got lads vying for a spot. We know Alex Pattison can play centre midfield, as he did last season and Josh Falkingham is stepping it up. We’re going to be competitive against Newport, who are very strong.”

Defenders Will Smith and Rory McArdle remain on Town’s injury list, as does winger Max Wright, who found himself in hospital earlier this week after the wound on his ankle where he was recently operated on became infected.

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