Harrogate Town ready to make impact at next level

CAPTAIN Josh Falkingham is confident that National League newcomers Harrogate Town can prosper in their historic first season in the fifth tier of English football.

Harrogate ended their wait to reach the next division with a National League North play-off final win over Brackley Town and Falkingham insists that Simon Weaver’s side will not be there just to make up the numbers in 2018-19.

Citing the achievements of Roses rivals AFC Fylde as the perfect ones to follow, Falkingham said: “You look at the teams that have gone up and the footballing sides who have done it.

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“Last year Fylde did it and look what they have gone on and achieved (seventh place). We will enjoy the moment, but we will look to push on and the side we have got are very young and we are a hungry team who want to do well. We have got to look at how Fylde played last year and do the same.”

On Sunday’s career highlight, the former Leeds United midfielder added: “You know what play-offs are like, they can be a lottery, but come the end of it the relief and all the emotion comes out.

“We are just delighted to get over the line as we have been different class all season and played the best football in the league in my opinion. We are glad we are now where we want to be and it is one of the biggest achievements of my career. I have won leagues, but lost out on play-offs numerous times, so to get a win in a play-off final is an incredible feeling and being captain as well. It has been an absolute pleasure.”

Chairman Irving Weaver spoke of his delight at the club’s historic achievement with the hope now being that they can consolidate their gains next season.

He said: “There has been a lot of hard work and this is the pinnacle of it. Sunday was a fantastic day with great support and the town really got behind us.

Going up: Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham celebrates after winning promotion. Picture: Tony Johnson

“That makes everything really worthwhile. Suddenly we have a club that means something to the town.

“We have come from a fairly low base in terms of infrastructure, but we are getting there. I am very proud of the young lads.

“Promotion means more of a profile and exposure on BT Sport with the televised games.

“For us it will be a case of back to work. It will be tough and we have got to be mindful of that and really get stuck in and be ready to go.”

Harrogate Town captain Josh Falkingham celebrates after winning promotion. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver celebrates after winning promotion. Picture: Tony Johnson.