Tranmere Rovers v Harrogate Town - History beckons for Simon Weaver’s Harrogate

SIMON WEAVER has taken charge of over 500 games as manager of Harrogate Town, although few will mean more to him than today’s Carabao Cup fixture with Tranmere Rovers.

Proud moment: Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver with the National League play-off trophy (Picture: Gerard Binks)

Harrogate travel to the Merseyside club for their first competitive outing as a Football League club and Weaver is relishing the opportunity to lead the club into uncharted waters.

The only game that will have meant more to Weaver is the one which got Harrogate to this point - a 3-1 win over Notts County in the National League play-off final at Wembley.

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“I am absolutely thrilled to manage Harrogate Town,” said Weaver, who has been in charge at the CNG Stadium since 2009.

“I have got a lot of games under my belt and probably none more special than my last game and this game against Tranmere.

“It is new territory for the club and I am proud to be part of it.”

Harrogate are likely to be without new signing Jake Lawlor and goalkeeper James Belshaw, who sustained a hand injury in the first week of pre-season.

However, Weaver is confident that Joe Cracknell is more than capable of stepping up in Belshaw’s absence.

“What Joe Cracknell has proved since coming in for our last three games is just what a good goalkeeper he is,” added Weaver.

“He is a big unit who can kick it the length of the field and he is very assured.

“He is a very, very good ’keeper and we are confident he will play well.”

Harrogate finalised their pre-season preparations with a trip to League One Sunderland last weekend.

Harrogate were beaten 1-0 by the Black Cats – named as favourites to be promoted to the Championship – in a close encounter at the Stadium of Light.

Weaver has been delighted by how his side have handled the short turnaround from last season, especially those players who have joined the club following the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.

He added: “The new lads have all integrated well and got some good minutes under their belts.

“It has probably been their hardest transition into a new team because it has come so thick and fast at them.

“It has been straight into hard running, football and games so it has very much been a baptism of fire for them.

“I think they have responded well to it and look to have added to the quality that we already have within the group.”