Harrogate Town v Port Vale - Lloyd Kerry’s efforts off bench earn him start

Having made a huge impact from the substitutes’ bench against Walsall on Good Friday, Lloyd Kerry will be included from the start when Harrogate Town host Port Vale this afternoon.

Llloyd Kerry: The impact sub’ will be given a start by Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver against Port Vale. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA
Llloyd Kerry: The impact sub’ will be given a start by Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver against Port Vale. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

The 32-year-old midfielder was introduced at the interval following an opening 45 minutes where the Sulphurites were thoroughly second-best.

And, so influential was Kerry in the centre of the park, Harrogate manager Simon Weaver has already made up his mind to recall the ex-Sheffield United trainee to tackle the Valiants. 

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“We were miles off it in the first half, but second half, we were much better, the substitutes made a difference,” Weaver said. 

Lloyd Kerry slapped himself on second balls, he snarled in the tackle and helped get us playing on the front foot. Josh [McPake] drove us up the pitch, drew defenders to him and created a few opportunities. There was an air of danger about us that we didn’t have in the first half.

“We’d said to the lads at half-time, ‘we can’t do that again, it can’t be another no-show’. The players had to find a way to make an impact in the game as individuals, and that is something that Lloyd does nine times out of 10.

“If I was Lloyd Kerry I would be thinking ‘I must be starting against Port Vale,’ and, actually, he will be starting.”

It took a goalkeeping masterclass from James Belshaw to earn Harrogate a share of the spoils at Walsall, and while he admits that his side were probably lucky to come away with something from that game, Weaver is hopeful that his players can build on both their bit of good fortune and their improved second-half showing.

“In a way it’s a good point. It was nice to get away with one for once and for the lads to think ‘we’re not just unlucky’,” he added.

“We’ve had a bit of fortune, our goalkeeper has been outstanding and the second half was a bit better, there’s something to build on at least.  

“If we can go and win the game on Monday against a Port Vale side who are in great from and we end up with four points from two games then we can say it’s been a decent Easter.”

This afternoon’s clash with Vale will see Rebecca Welch become the first-ever female referee to officiate an EFL fixture from the start.

“I absolutely welcome it,” Weaver added. “It has probably taken too long to happen.”

Last six games: Harrogate Town DLLLWL; Port Vale WWWWLD

Referee: R Welch (County Durham)

Last time: Port Vale 0 Harrogate Town 0, September 26, 2019, League Two.

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