“Beck has been phenomenal this season up top and looks twice the player he has been in previous seasons”
The match preview Q&A series continues, as Josh Richardson discusses ‘The Sulphurites’ of Harrogate Town:
Hi Josh, so the Sulphurites are in contention again – how would you sum up your season so far?
I would sum our season up by saying it took time for us to gel but now barring a couple of performances, we’re really starting to look a strong outfit especially at home. Mark Beck has been phenomenal this season up top and looks twice the player he has been in previous seasons, he has been a huge asset for us in both boxes.
What’s been your most memorable moments up to this point?
My most memorable moments so far this season have been both Halifax away games (especially the league game). The league game was the game that sticks in my mind as to where our team really gelled and went onto a 10 match unbeaten run propelling us up the table.
How’s your recent form been heading into the match against United?
Our recent form has been very inconsistent, after coming out of a 10 match unbeaten run we have only won 1 out of the last 6 against a struggling Chesterfield. The recent away game last Saturday at Sutton has worried me slightly, it looked as though some of our poor early season defending was back with a vengeance. Our home form on the whole though has been brilliant and I believe I am right in thinking we haven’t lost at home since August.
Who are your key players and why?
Our key players for me are:
Mark Beck – the team as a whole looks better with him in it, winning flick-ons, defending set pieces, his footwork is brilliant (especially for a big target man) and he really links up play to the wingers.
James Belshaw – makes save after save for us and has won us many points in the past couple of seasons.
Josh Falkingham – an absolute workhorse, best passing ability/vision I have seen at this level. Adds a lot of bite to our midfield, and somewhat surprisingly has added some goals this season too.
Who is the manager and how highly do you rate his tactical approach to games?
Simon Weaver is our manager, his tactics to play proper football on the deck work if implemented by the players. I sometimes feel he leaves the substitutions too late in games winning or losing. The substitutions also seem to be very predictable, this concerns me as a supporter because if we as fans can guess his substitutions a team that’s done their homework can too. When Weaver first came it was a struggle but you can see him grow as a manager season upon season and he really does have a lot of passion for this club. That’s something you can’t buy.
What’s Wetherby Road like for those who haven’t visited before?
Wetherby Road, or as it’s known now The CNG Stadium is in the middle of numerous upgrades and new infrastructure being built. Great ground with cover at all ends, and noise carries well in the ground.
Will the match be segregated for fans and if so, where will the Yellow Army be placed?
The match will be segregated. You will be placed in the Envirovent Stand with seated and standing tickets both available; this stand runs down the length of the pitch opposite the main stand.
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to enjoy pre-match food and drinks?
As you will have no access to the bar with the segregation in place, I would recommend The Empress which is just a 5 minute walk to the ground towards the town centre. In town there are many pubs including a Wetherspoons for you bargain lovers. The Harrogate Arms offers a discount of I believe 20% off with a valid match ticket.
Can you win promotion this season and what would you say are your biggest strengths as a team?
I would love us to achieve promotion, although I think we may fall just short again purely on the basis that we can put great runs together but then put in a very poor showing. Inconsistency will cost us at the end of the season I believe. I still think we can achieve the play-offs again though.
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
One fairly recently that’s springs to mind is Chesterfield striker Fondop-Talum he was a real handful for our defence and managed to grab a goal for his efforts too.
Another one is actually your striker Jamie Reid. He scored the two final goals at your place to cement you a win (we won’t talk about the ludicrous red card) and he was a handful all game, showing a natural finishing ability promotion chasing teams need.
And finally, we’re on a bad run and head to Yorkshire needing a win – what’s your prediction for Saturday afternoon?
Both teams not on the best of form, I expect goals just like the reverse fixture. I think our home record is brilliant and we need a big win after the disappointment of Sutton, so my score prediction is a 3-2 Harrogate Win!
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