Harrogate Town v Newport County: League Two leaders have right mix of characters

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver says his current crop are the “best group of characters” he has ever had the pleasure of working with.

Alex Pattison of Harrogate Town . (Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

The Sulphurites entertain Newport County this evening aiming to extend their unbeaten start to 2021/22 into a seventh game as they bid to open up a three-point gap at the top of League Two.

That they lead the way, even at this early stage of the campaign, will have come as a surprise to many, though Weaver insists that he realised pretty quickly this summer that he had assembled a good bunch.

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Asked if there was anything in particular that stood out about his new-look squad as regards their fast start, he replied: “Before a ball was even kicked, I said that this was the best group of players I’ve had.

Simon Weaver the head coach / manager of Harrogate Town has the right characters this season. (Picture: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

“All the pieces of the jigsaw are there in terms of the character. There’s nobody permanently on their phone or anyone sat separate from the group like there was at times last season.

“Don’t get me wrong, there were no bad characters here last year – we wouldn’t even have had them in the building – but this time everyone is really engaging with one another and there is a great energy about them.

“I feel really pleased to come into work every day and see them. We are in a good place both on and off the pitch.”

Some excellent transfer business during the close-season has, without question, also been significant. Striker Luke Armstong and midfielder Alex Pattison have shone, scoring four and three goals respectively, while goalkeeper Mark Oxley and centre-half Rory McArdle have added both presence and experience in the defensive third.

“That extra quality we’ve brought in has absolutely made a difference,” added Weaver.

“You’ve seen it in the performances and the results and I also think it’s driven standards up. You can see that all the lads are buzzing off the capabilities of their team-mates.”