Crunch festive period for Harrogate Town and FC Halifax Town

HARROGATE TOWN manager Simon Weaver believes that how his players perform over the festive period could well go a long way to shaping the rest of their season.

Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The National League high-fliers will play four fixtures in the space of just 11 days, starting with today’s near 500-mile round trip to Eastleigh.

Halifax Town then visit the CNG Stadium on Boxing day, followed by AFC Fylde on December 29.

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New Year’s Day will see Weaver and his troops tackle Halifax away from home.

“Because you are playing so many games in such a short space of time you can find yourselves in a great position when you come out the other side of Christmas,” he said.

“There is an opportunity to accumulate points very quickly if we apply ourselves.

“There’s a lot to play for and we’re so keen to do well. We’ve made such a positive start to the season and we want to continue that, but we’ve got some really tough fixtures and, of course, they come thick and fast.”

Weaver’s team recorded a comfortable 4-0 success over Eastleigh when the sides met at the CNG Stadium in September, although the Spitfires have improved since and now sit ninth in the standings.

“Eastleigh will certainly be a different proposition to the side we played in September,” added Weaver.

“They’ve a new manager since Andy Hessenthaler moved on and their results have been good in recent months.

“Having watched them on video I know that they’re versatile in the way that they operate. It’s another tough game, but we’ve been good on the long away trips this season.”

FC Halifax Town’s assistant manager Phil Hughes says the Shaymen are up for the steep challenge of their festive fixtures, starting today at home to Sutton.

Halifax face Sutton, Harrogate twice and Gateshead in the space of 11 days, opponents who are all in the top eight.

“These are the games you want,” said Hughes. “The Sutton game’s going to be very difficult, they’re a good side, they know what they have to do and they do it.

“It’s not going to be easy, but these last three games show a character, a braveness and, the way we go about our business, it gives us a chance in every game we play in, but we have to be respectful of what we’ve got coming.

“Harrogate we’ll all be looking forward to. Those two games over Christmas and New Year are going to be fantastic.”

Winger Matty Kosylo has served his suspension, but it is unclear whether he, Cameron King or Joe Skarz will be back from the injuries that kept them out against Barrow.

Josh Staunton will miss the game as he serves the last game of his three-match ban.