Captain Dan Thirkell ends Harrogate Railway contract amid Tadcaster Albion interest

Harrogate Railway captain Dan Thirkell played his last game for the club at Kendal Town on Saturday (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Harrogate Railway captain Dan Thirkell played his last game for the club at Kendal Town on Saturday (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

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Ever-present Harrogate Railway captain Dan Thirkell has been released from his contract and will exit Station View after 11 years at the club.

Thirkell has featured in every game of Railway's season which ended in relegation from the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Boss Lee Ashforth confirmed the player was likely to link up with former boss Billy Miller at Tadcaster Albion next season, should the club secure promotion from the Northern Counties East League.

“It's the right time for him to move on. He needs a new challenge,” Ashforth said.

“Dan is getting to the stage in his life where if he doesn't move now he will never move.”

Miller originally approached the utility player, who has operated predominantly as a central midfielder this season, after leaving Railway at the end of the last season but Thirkell opted to stay put and took the captain's armband at Station View.

A move to Ings Lane could depend on whether Albion get across the winning line in the NCEL Premier and secure a rise into the Evo-Stik First Division North.

Ashforth said: “It was expected. If he had left 12 months ago it would have been a massive blow and a kick in the teeth but he gave me 12 months and decided to stay with me last season when Billy went to Tadcaster.

“I knew a couple of weeks ago that Tadcaster had shown some interest and when I spoke to him about renewing his contract, he said he wanted to go.

“We are not going to hold him to it when he has given 11 years service to the club.

“He has led by example and has been a great clubman.

“We have played 48 games this season, plus nine pre-season games, and he has been involved in every one.”