Weaver set to bend Southgate’s ear about possible tie with Boro

Harrogate Town's team mates congratulate Tom Platt scoring the oening goal against Hastings, but they were pegged back and face a replay before the prospect of a trip to neighbours Middlesbrough. ('Picture: Gerard Binks).
Harrogate Town's team mates congratulate Tom Platt scoring the oening goal against Hastings, but they were pegged back and face a replay before the prospect of a trip to neighbours Middlesbrough. ('Picture: Gerard Binks).
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Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver will tap into the knowledge of local neighbour 
Gareth Southgate in readiness for a possible FA Cup third-round tie at Middlesbrough.

Town must first overcome a second-round replay at Hastings United a week on Tuesday after the lowest ranked team left in the competition fought back to earn a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

But the Yorkshire outfit will remain favourites to progress to the third round for the first time in their history and in Harrogate resident and former Boro boss Southgate, Weaver has the perfect ally.

Southgate was among the bumper 2,926 gate at the CNG Stadium on Saturday having contacted Weaver beforehand to wish his side well ahead of Saturday’s game, dubbed the ‘battle of Hastings’.

Now Weaver will attempt to unearth some inside information on Middlesbrough – just so long as his side can emerge victorious from the replay a week tomorrow.

“Gareth is a lovely man and he sent me two messages on Saturday about the game and wishing us good luck,” said Weaver.

“What with his Middlesbrough connections, I think I will be texting him asking for the lowdown on them.

“The Riverside is a great stadium and with it being so close I think we could take a good few thousand so it would just be a massive day out for the club.

“As regards the finances, we’d have to sit down and work out the maths but the gate receipts are split 50-50 and you’d like to think you’d get at least 15,000 there.

“It would make the club for many years to come and also be a reward for all the money we have invested into getting our pitch sorted out – from which we will see the benefits next year.”

Town arguably pulled out the most glamorous third-round tie among the Yorkshire contingent.

Hull City were handed a home game against Leyton Orient.

Leeds United will face Birmingham at Elland Road, Huddersfield Town are away at Charlton Athletic and Barnsley entertaining Burnley – all three games all-Championship affairs.

Sheffield Wednesday will host MK Dons with Sheffield United travelling to Accrington Stanley or Oxford United.

Rotherham United will head south to Aldershot should they overcome Notts County in their replay while Bradford City’s reward for seeing off Brentford at the second attempt will be a trip to Bury or Southend.

All ties will be played the weekend of January 5-6.

Weaver had hoped for a trip to a Premier League big gun, commenting on Saturday “a little club like Manchester United would be nice”, but is perfectly happy with a potential trip to the Riverside.

“Middlesbrough away is still a juicy tie – if we can get through what will be a difficult replay at Hastings,” said the Town boss.

“We have already created history. Anything more will be a bonus. But they (Hastings) will be saying the same.

“We might even get on television, but we’ll have to see about that as you’d imagine they will put the game on between the winners of Mansfield and Lincoln and Liverpool.

“But we may get on ESPN and obviously that would add to the revenue as well.”

Before the replay in eight days comes the bread and butter of league action in Blue Square North, Harrogate travelling to FC Halifax Town on Wednesday and then Colwyn Bay three days later.

Weaver’s side are also scheduled to host Guiseley tomorrow evening in the quarter-finals of the West Riding FA County Cup.

The club’s next home league match will not be until Saturday, December 15, but after seeing 2,926 fans at Wetherby Road on Saturday, Weaver is hoping plenty of new supporters will return.

“When we came to the club we said that it would be nice to get 700 fans every week and I don’t think that’s being unrealistic,” said Weaver, whose side normally attract between 400 and 500 fans for home games.

“On Saturday we saw 2,900 there and I think it just shows you that if you are winning there is the interest there.

“Hopefully some of the people that came down on Saturday will have thought ‘that was good fun’ and they will come back again.”

Town sent the home faithful into raptures after 41 minutes on Saturday when Tom Platt’s close-range effort put the Harrogate outfit in front.

But Ryman League outfit Hastings, whose hardy brigade of supporters left the south coast at around 5am in order to make the 1pm kick-off, earned a replay thanks to a 61st-minute strike from Jamie Crellin, who tucked home the rebound after a curling effort from Bradley Goldberg hit the post.

Match report: Page 5.