Harrogate Town did ‘everything they could’ to avoid losing the Carabao Cup first round to Rochdale AFC
Opponents Rochdale received a farewell in the second half after Tuesday’s scheduled clash between the two had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the Sulphurites camp.
The Football League (EFL) has ruled that the Wetherby Road element will not be able to complete the fixture within the required time period – prior to Aug. 23, the date on which the second -round rounds are scheduled – and forced Town to abandon the game.
“It’s another blow for us,” Weaver’s boss said Harrogate Advertiser.
“I understand the logistics problem with the next round scheduled to take place from August 23, but a situation where we were forced to give up our place in the competition was one we worked really, really hard to avoid.
“We suggested that the game be played on Monday after we were back in action against Barrow on August 21. That means we have to play on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday,
Saturday of that week, but I think it was worth having at least one chance to thrive.
“Rochdale was good at the idea, but the EFL said ‘no’. It was really annoying because we were desperate to play. There was no big explosion in the EFL, no fall-out but we presented our case and we really did everything we could. . “
With five players contracting the virus and an additional five isolated due to close contact with those affected, Town will not play again until their League Two match against Barrow on August 21st.
But Weaver announced that the club has sounded the EFL regarding the possibility of bringing in many more players on emergency loan deals so they can play Rochdale at an earlier date.
“That’s a‘ no ’as well,” he added.
“They said that rule only applies to goalkeepers, which is a shame. If we can bring a couple I will fill the 16-year-old’s bench and we can play the game.
“We have contacts and we are in touch with clubs that are willing to help us identify the players. It may mean that we are putting a weakened side for the game, but somehow we have played it and therefore have to an opportunity of development.
“The rules are the rules, I accept that, but it’s not over yet. With Covid and the problems it causes, you wonder if there’s a new rule that can be delivered regarding emergency loans for a one-off. game if a team has already lost a significant number of players to the virus. “
The EFL released a statement regarding the situation on Tuesday night. It explained: ‘Rochdale AFC will receive a bye in the second round of the Carabao Cup this season after opponents determined that Harrogate Town would not be able to play a fixture round within the required time period.
‘This follows a request to reschedule Harrogate’s next three fixtures after a number of positive Covid-19 cases were identified within the Club, and a number of individuals who have not played or trained due to either on a positive test, or the requirement to self-isolate, in accordance with Government and EFL guidance.
‘While Harrogate Town seeks to reschedule the Carabao Cup fixture, the available date proposed would not provide enough time for logistics arrangements, or tickets to be sold for the Round Two tie and in accordance with Carabao Cup rule 5.1, Harrogate The town will therefore expire. ‘
The town, who also had to postpone the upcoming League Two fixtures against Crawley and Leyton Orient, were only promed in the EFL last season, so this year’s competition only represents their second chance to participate in the Carabao Cup .
Last term, they beat Tranmere Rovers on penalties following a 1-1 draw at Prenton Park, which set up a second round trip to Premier League West Bromwich Albion.