United head over to Harrogate for their rearranged fixture tonight with manager Paul Simpson expecting another tough encounter at a venue that hasn’t brought the best of returns or experiences for the Cumbrians.
“I’m going to be really honest with you, I’ve forgotten what my preparation was like for the game that got suspended when Her Majesty sadly died back in September,” he said. “I have forgotten what we were going to do in that game, but we’ll have looked at it closely for this one.
“We’ll go up against a team who will be fired up after their win against Bradford and they’ll be very well organised, because that’s how the staff they have over there do things.
“The one thing I will say is that we have definitely got to be better than we were down there last time we went. I actually don’t think we could be any worse, so the challenge for us is to try and get the three points.”
“It’s quite a tight pitch so we won’t be able to be as expansive as we normally are, but it’s a game we’re looking forward to,” he continued. “If we win, it’s a chance to push ourselves even further up the table.
“I don’t know what it is, or why, but I’m led to believe our performances haven’t been good at Harrogate. I know it certainly wasn’t last year.
“The first thing I’m asking for is a massive improvement from last season. I want to go there and make it really difficult.
“We’ve done well away from home when you look at the results we’ve picked up, Grimsby, Hartlepool, Tranmere, and we have to continue it. That’s the big thing we’ve got to do.”
Getting over a perceived hoodoo against any team is always an aim, and that will be no different in this one.
“That’s our aim,” he agreed. “That’s what we’ve got to do. I’ll be honest, we didn’t go with the intention last year of not performing, but for whatever reason we didn’t.
“I just think there’s a different mentality about the group now. One thing I keep saying to the players is I think they’re a good team and I’m expecting them to be a good team.
“But that counts for nothing, they have to go and show it. I want them to go and show it, that we’re learning, improving, we’re all pulling in the right direction, and hopefully we’re able to do that.
“Team selection wise we know we don’t have Jon Mellish. We have to look at that, and there’s a possibility I might even change the shape.
“It’s something I’ve half thought about, but not really confirmed in my mind yet. I’ve sort of learned over the last few weeks don’t count your chickens yet, let’s see who’s fit and make the decision.
“My board at the moment is blank, but ahead of the game I’ve got a decision to make on which way we go with it.
“The other thing is we want to perform for the fans who will be there in numbers again. Let’s give them credit for Saturday because all clubs tend to struggle to get decent crowds at home in early FA Cup rounds.
“To get over 4,000 is an absolutely brilliant turnout from our fans. Hopefully they’ve gone home happy and they’re encouraged to come back again next week, and we do a job for them tonight as well.”