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A look at the opposition: Harrogate Town

4 August 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: Harrogate Town

4 August 2023

Harrogate kick off their fourth season as an EFL club at the stadium where they began their League Two journey at the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

The requirement for the Sulphurites to replace the artificial pitch at the EnviroVent Stadium forced them to decamp down the A1 at the Eco-Power Stadium for their first few home matches of the season.

Last season was the first of their initial three in Sky Bet League Two with a real threat of relegation but Town survived without too much fuss and will be confident of kicking on once again this term, with eight new signings through the door.

They return to the Eco-Power Stadium having collected their first win over Rovers at the venue in March with late goals from Luke Armstrong and the now-departed Alex Pattison helping them to a 2-0 win.

THE MANAGER

The surroundings are familiar to Harrogate boss Simon Weaver – Doncaster born and bred and having taken his first steps into senior football with a loan at Rovers from Sheffield Wednesday. The 45-year-old has been in charge at the club since 2009 and has guided them from tier six to become an established EFL club.

KEY MEN

Goalkeeper – Mark Oxley

Sheffield-born Oxley arrived at Town in July 2021 after spending the previous five seasons at Southend United, making over 150 appearances for The Shrimpers across League One and Two. During last season's campaign Oxley made 21 appearances, conceding 26 goals and kept six clean sheets.

Defender – Joe Mattock

Experienced left back Mattock has spent the bulk of his playing career operating in the Championship making over 280 appearances, the majority at near-neighbours Rotherham United. Last season he made 26 appearances for Harrogate. In his youth he was also capped five times by England U21s.

Midfielder – Dean Cornelius

The 22-year-old turned down a new contract at Motherwell to join Harrogate this summer. He broke through at Motherwell in 2019 but truly staked his claim last term with 31 appearances in the Scottish Premier League. Cornelius has hinted he could be adding goals to his game after netting twice during pre-season.

Striker – Luke Armstrong

Durham-born Armstrong has emerged as one of the division’s top strikers in recent seasons. He netted 16 goals and provided six assists last term to aid Harrogate’s survival cause. And he has suggested he will carry his goals into the new season too, with seven goals during pre-summer. The 27-year-old joined Harrogate from Salford City in 2021.

LAST TIME OUT

Hartlepool United 1 Harrogate Town 2

Pre-season friendly, Friday, July 28

Team: Oxley; Sims (Ramsay 71), O’Connor (Burrell 46), McDonald (Foulds 71), Mattock; Muldoon, Cornelius (Faulkingham 71), Gibson (Horbury 81); M Daly (Odoh 71), J Daly (Folarin 71); Armstrong (Thomson 71).

Goalscorers: Luke Armstrong, Abraham Odoh 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

There is little to separate Rovers and Harrogate in their historic head-to-head in competitive matches – both had collected two wins over the other prior to April’s 2-2 draw at the EnviroVent Stadium.  

The three matches to have taken place in Doncaster all came at different venues. In October 1921, Harrogate beat Rovers 2-1 in a Midland League fixture at the Bennetthorpe Ground. Rovers hosts Town at Belle Vue for a third round FA Trophy tie in January 2002 as Dave Penney took sole charge of the side for the first time and led them to a 2-0 win. And on March 7 this year, Harrogate triumphed 2-0 at the Eco-Power Stadium.  

In total 28 players have featured for both clubs, including Mark Atkins, Kevin Noteman, Tim Ryan, Dave Syers and Byron Webster. But only one has made Football League appearances for both – striker Josh Andrews. The Birmingham City loanee made three appearances for Harrogate in the 21/22 campaign before joining Rovers for the 22/23 season, with injury limiting him to just four outings.  

Contributors: Gavin Hepworth, John Coyle

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