Harrogate Town midfielder Matty Daly is hoping to add to his tally when the Sulphurites take on his former team Harrogate Town in tonight’s Papa Johns Trophy Group Stage tie.
Last season, the Huddersfield Town loanee, who spent the first half of the 2021/22 term with the Pools, notched five goals in four games in this competition as Hartlepool made it all the way to the Semi-Final, where they lost out to winners Rotherham United.
“We’re going to go to every game wanting to win and we’ll put 100% into it,” he explained. “It’s anyone’s competition this year. It’s a great competition. It’s all positive and everyone buzzes about it.
“It’ll be a good little test down at Hartlepool and hopefully I can continue my form personally and the team can do well.”
Daly departed shortly before the Quarter-Final but helped the side get to within reaching distance of Wembley, and is hoping his new team can enjoy a successful campaign this season.
“It was a great opportunity to play in it for the first time,” he added. “I was also playing against some League One teams – some big hitters like Bolton – so it was good.
“I know there were a few decent players in there and I was up there with the top goalscorers. It was a good feeling. I was just happy to be scoring and helping the team moving forward.
“It gives opportunities for players who aren’t playing as much as well to have a chance to play. For me, that was the case.”
Harrogate will compete in Northern Group A, along with Daly’s ex-employers Hartlepool, Everton Under-21s and Morecambe, kicking off their campaign with a trip to the Suit Direct Stadium this evening.
“This year, it’ll be another testing Group Stage,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting one again where we can hopefully excel from the Group Stage and further on into the knockout stages. It’s something that can spike up a team and give the team a bit of a boost.”
The 21-year-old is already off the mark for Simon Weaver’s side, netting on his Sky Bet League Two debut in a 3-0 win over Swindon Town.
And Daly believes his season-long stay in North Yorkshire could be the making of him.
“I’ve had a good start to the season with Harrogate,” he continued. “I’ve had a couple of goals to settle in. It’s a good bunch of lads.
“Every loan is important, but this is a big one for me. I know what it’s like from last year. I know I’m still young but I’m a bit more experienced. This one has got to be where I dominate.
“Getting as many games as you can as a young lad is only going to help you move forward. This year, it’s hopefully going to be 40 games plus, with goals and assists added to that, and I can go back to Huddersfield and hopefully get a chance.”
But, for now, the forward is fully focussed on helping Harrogate get off to a winning start in the Papa Johns Trophy and getting his name on the score-sheet tonight.
“I think I’d enjoy it!” he said. “I’ve got to try and keep up my run. It’s the first time back in the Papa Johns since last season so it’ll be good to be a part of it.
“It’ll be interesting. It’s my first time being back at the place since I was on loan there last year. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Hartlepool. Hopefully we can go there and get the points that are needed.”