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Club News

The inside track on Harrogate Town

16 December 2022

Club News

The inside track on Harrogate Town

16 December 2022

Rovers return to the Eco-Power Stadium for a Yorkshire derby with Harrogate Town in Sky Bet League Two this weekend.

Danny Schofield’s side beat Newport County last time out thanks to a Kyle Knoyle strike at Rodney Parade.

Here we provide all the details on our latest opponents.

Manager 

As a player, Doncaster-born Simon Weaver made his professional debut for Rovers in 1997 while on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.

He finished his playing days with Harrogate and after being named as player-manager in 2009, he helped transform the club alongside his father Irving, who owns the club. They achieved promotion to the EFL for the first time in their history in 2020, and their first game in the fourth tier was a 4-0 win at Southend United. 

In their two seasons in the division to date, Weaver has guided Harrogate to back-to-back 17th-placed finishes, with the hope to build on that this season.

Form

Harrogate have had a mixed bag of results in their past six games, collecting 10 points from a possible 18 stretching back to a 3-1 defeat to Walsall on October 25.

After losing to AFC Wimbledon four days later, Simon Weaver’s side had to wait another 10 days for their next league game, where they played out a six-goal thriller in earning a point against Carlisle United.

They were then beaten by league leaders Leyton Orient, but have picked up their form in recent weeks and come into the game against Rovers full of confidence.

Having putting three goals past Nigel Clough’s Mansfield on home soil, their most recent league game saw the West Yorkshire outfit beat Rochdale 4-1 to put some space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Key men

Experienced midfielder Josh Falkingham is now approaching 200 appearances for Harrogate since joining the club in the summer of 2017.

After coming through the ranks at Leeds United, he moved north of the border in search of regular first team football in 2010. He initially spent time on loan with St. Johnstone, before making a permanent move to Arbroath shortly after. He racked up more than 220 games, which included a four-year spell at Dunfermline before moving back south.

He has been key in helping Harrogate work their way into the EFL for the first time, and continues to be one of the first names on the teamsheet for Simon Weaver.

Another man with plenty of experience is Jack Muldoon, who signed for Harrogate a year after Falkingham and has since found the back on the net on a regular occurrence. 

After spells with Rochdale and Halifax earlier on in his career, it was with Lincoln in 2015 where Muldoon found his feet with 79 appearances for the Imps. He moved to Fylde in 2017 but spend just one season there, and signed for Harrogate in the summer of 2018.

The 32-year-old is another player who has played a pivotal role in the club’s climb through the divisions, scoring 63 starts in 172 starts in all competitions.

Forward Luke Armstrong joined Harrogate in the summer of 2021 after an impressive loan spell at fellow Sky Bet League Two side Hartlepool United.

Armstrong had a spell with Middlesborough where he was allowed to move out on loan to the likes of Gateshead and Accrington Stanley, before a permanent move to Salford City in the summer of 2019. The 26-year-old found game time harder to come by with the Ammies and made the move back north to Victoria Park in December 2020.

At that stage Pools were still in the National League battling for promotion to the EFL, and Armstrong’s goals helped them to do just that. He struck 15 times in the second half of the campaign, including one in the play-off final against Torquay United, which they won on penalties.

He carried that form into his first season at Harrogate, scoring 14 goals, including one against former club Hartlepool. Armstrong found goals more difficult to come by earlier on in the campaign, but like the team as a whole his form has picked up in recent weeks, having found the back of the net five times in his past five appearances.

Last league meeting

Saturday’s game at the Eco-Power Stadium will be the first time the two teams have gone head-to-head in the EFL.

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