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Aug 2, 2020 at 3pm UK at Wembley Stadium
HarrogateHarrogate Town
3-1
Notts CountyNotts County
Thomson (5'), Hall (28'), Diamond (70')
Hall (58'), Kerry (83')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Roberts (46')
Bagan (27'), Roberts (52')

Jon Stead looking forward to taking on former side Notts County

Jon Stead looking forward to taking on former side Notts County
The striker will come up against his former club Notts County in the National League play-off final.

Jon Stead admits “it’s a strange one” but is relishing the prospect of Sunday’s Vanarama National League play-off final between his current side Harrogate and old club Notts County.

The 37-year-old striker spent four seasons with the Magpies, scoring more than 50 goals, before joining Harrogate last summer.

Ahead of the North Yorkshire outfit’s bid on Sunday to secure a first-ever promotion to the Football League at Notts County’s expense, Stead told the PA news agency: “It’s a strange one.

“Football throws up these little scenarios. Me playing against an old club is not something that unusual, I’ve been at that many! But Notts County, I spent four years down there, it was my last club.

“I had some good times there and some bad times as well, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. So it’s a strange scenario.

“It’s a fantastic occasion for us, something we’ve worked extremely hard for, and it’s an opportunity we need to grasp.”

He added: “Although I have the history with Notts County, that doesn’t change how I approach games. Come Sunday, I’m playing for the badge on my shirt and the name on the back.

“I want my club to be successful and that means winning against any club that comes in front of us. It wouldn’t be any different whatever club I was playing against.”

The contest will be Harrogate’s maiden Wembley appearance – and the same will apply to Stead should he feature.

“I thought the chance had gone to be honest,” he said. “I thought, ‘this is two chances potentially I’ve got to get to Wembley this season’.

As well as their promotion push, Harrogate prior to lockdown reached the FA Trophy semi-finals, in which they were also set to face Notts County.

He added: “Then everything gets stopped, and I’m thinking that is just my luck – at 37 I’m not going to get the opportunity because of a global pandemic rather than anything else.

Stead (left) scored more than 50 goals for Notts County (Nick Potts/PA).
Stead (left) scored more than 50 goals for Notts County (Nick Potts/PA)

“Once it was announced that we were actually going to finish with the play-offs, I was over the moon because it keeps that dream alive, and then to win the game on Saturday (the play-off semi-final against Boreham Wood), it just means the world to me.

“I have a chance to go and play on that stage, I’m going to enjoy every second of it, and hopefully the majority of the enjoyment will come if we’re celebrating at the final whistle.”

Stead has no doubt that should Simon Weaver’s men emerge triumphant on Sunday it will rank “right up there” among the highlights of his career.

The former England Under-21s player, who scored Blackburn’s winner in a 2004 Premier League game against Manchester United and netted in Bradford’s 4-2 FA Cup victory over Chelsea in 2015, said: “I think now, because I’m towards the end of my career, this almost means more.

“I can appreciate things a lot more. I have a better understanding of the game and what it means to other people.”

While there will be no fans at Wembley, there will be cardboard cut-outs in the stands, including two featuring images of Stead’s friend Jordan Sinnott, the midfielder who died in January aged 25 after being assaulted.

Stead, Sinnott’s former team-mate at Huddersfield, said: “They were in the stand on Saturday and it was brilliant just to almost feel his presence there.

“He’ll be there watching at Wembley, so it will be nice again to have him there.”

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Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

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