Harrogate Town v Southend - Simon Weaver warns against Sulphurites slide

Simon Weaver is anxious for Harrogate Town’s maiden Football League season not to “slide” now they are realistically safe from relegation, but short of being play-off contenders.

The Sulphurites host 23rd-placed Southend United with 48 points, 16 points above them but nine away from League Two’s top seven.

Manager Weaver was unhappy with the lack of intensity in defeat to Morecambe last week, but has been pleased with the response.

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“Training’s been superb this week because they care,” said Weaver, who had Birmingham City loanees Mitch Roberts and Josh Andrews back in training this week but will not use them today.

Simon Weaver: Harrogate Towb manager was unhappy with midweek defeat to Morecambe. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“Sometimes you say these things to get a reaction because we didn’t expect to lose.

“That might be perceived as getting ahead of ourselves because they’ve been in the top three and they’re still in the top seven. I just thought for the possession we had we didn’t show enough intensity in key areas, we conceded a sloppy goal and despite 35 crosses we didn’t get a head on anything or when we did we missed the target.”

Town have the carrot of a Wembley FA Trophy final on the May Day bank holiday, giving Weaver the stick to leave players out.

“You don’t want to be in the stands at Wembley,” he said. “It took us 100-plus years (to get there for the first time in last season’s Conference play-off final). To be in that XI is massive.

“That’s enough motivation, not that they should ever need any because they should all want to do their best and I believe they do.

“First we’ve got to focus on the league because finishing in the top 10 would be a real achievement for our first season. The first objective was to stay up so if we can finish in the top half, that would be brilliant.

“If we dip below but we’ve had a good go, so be it but we don’t want to slide and see points drift away when there are winnable games.”

Last six games: Harrogate Town LLWLWW; Southend United DDDLDL

Referee: L Doughty (Lancashire)

Last time: First Wetherby Road meeting.

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