United’s Tuesday night trip to the Envirovent Stadium [kick off 7pm] sees United and Harrogate go toe-to-toe for the right to progress to the last 16 of the Papa John’s Trophy, with manager Keith Millen confirming that his squad is raring to go as they get back into the swing of things following their three-week break.
“I think if we’d had more games we might have been looking at who was tired, who needed to change, but on the back of three weeks of having just the one game last Saturday, they’re more than ready to go again,” he said.
“There were a few tired legs in training today [Monday] but I’ve got no worries that we’ll be ready for the game. And we’ll pick a strong team, as we did last time.
“As you get a bit closer to Wembley I’m certainly not going to take it lightly. We’ll be as strong as we can be.
“We don’t need a rest at the moment. In a way the break might help us coming into January. I think we’ll be better for this game fitness wise than we were on Saturday. There’s no need for me to do any rotation as far as resting players is concerned.”
“We are getting closer to Wembley so for me it’s a huge game,” he continued. “It’s difficult because you know you’ve got a lot of league games coming up, but this is the next game.
“I’ve spoken about the players who did look tired on Saturday, we did look a bit rusty, and you’ve got to mention Callum Guy and Jack Armer.
“They’ve hardly trained, for them to do what they did, even Sam Fishburn up front, a young 18-year-old playing 90 minutes again, and working really hard - they’re really putting their bodies on the line, and that’s great.
“We’ll have to look at it because we’ve got a few more players back. Tristan Abrahams and Manny Mampala are back from isolation, so we’re already looking stronger.”
The Sulphurites, of course, missed out on their home game with Port Vale following an outbreak of Covid within their ranks, but Simon Weaver confirmed at his pre-match press conference that players back from injury mean that his squad is also ready to do battle.
“I’m sure it’s a big game for them as well,” the manager commented. “They had that weekend cancellation so it will be interesting to see how strong their squad is.
“Covid regulations state you can’t play for seven days, but they maybe had a number of injured players. They came here and beat us so we’ve got to go there and get some payback.”
These teams met at Brunton Park at the end of November, with the visitors taking the points from what was a tight game.
“It’s different on Tuesday night in respect of it not being a league game,” he told us. “There’ll be lessons learned from it and I’m sure they’ll take things from it as well.
“They punished us a couple of times, we dominated a lot of possession and couldn’t score. It’s one that we want to get through to the next round and it doesn’t have much bearing.
“At the moment it’s on and that’s what we wanted. We’ve planned, prepared, we’re in good shape, we’ve got a few more players back, and we look stronger in training.
“I’m really fingers crossed that we get the game played. We need to, we’ve got a lot of games to reschedule, league games, so we need to get this game under way and hopefully get through to the next round.”
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