Will pre-season friendly lead to closer link between Harrogate Town and Leeds United?

Town boss Simon Weaver with Leeds United's new manager Uwe Rosler. (1507101AM6)
Town boss Simon Weaver with Leeds United's new manager Uwe Rosler. (1507101AM6)
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Simon Weaver believes last Friday’s pre-season friendly against Leeds United acted as another step in firming up the relationship between the two clubs.

The Harrogate Town manager witnessed his squad provide a strong account of what is to come this season by taking the lead in an entertaining 1-1 draw at the CNG Stadium.

Cecil Nyoni calmly slotted Town in front before Steve Morison gave the large Leeds contingent in the stands something to cheer with a second-half equaliser.

“I think it was superb. It was everything we wanted and more,” said Weaver.

“Throughout the morning there were loads of Leeds fans getting into town and getting excited to see Uwe’s team, and it was incredible to have 2,000 watching the warm up.

“To get into the game and compete very well, it was all very encouraging. The lads stepped up to the plate.

“There were promising signs throughout the day. Even after we conceded, when we had just made a number of changes to the system at half time, it could have been a difficult 45 minutes but all the lads battled hard and put a shift in.”

With more than 3,000 spectators making their way to Wetherby Road, the match was heralded as a huge success from both camps.

Flamboyant Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino was present, while Leeds legend Gary McAllister cut the ribbon to the new Sterling Motors stand on the Wetherby Road side of the ground prior to kick-off.

The clash was the third time in 18 months that the two sides have met for a friendly fixture, with Town enjoying a record of two wins and a draw.

Weaver was keen to extend the partnership between the sides after chatting to new Whites boss Uwe Rosler at full time.

“He just said well done and that our lads played well,” Weaver said. He said some nice things about the place and the stadium and atmosphere that everyone created.

“I did offer, if he wanted to use us because we are neighbours and very close to Thorp Arch, to have any behind closed doors friendlies to forge that link even stronger.

“We would be more than happy to help. Hopefully we can do more whether that is by way of practice sessions or games.

“It would be really good for me and the club if we could have that friendly every year, and I know the guys in hospitality looked after their directors really well.”

Meanwhile, Weaver is unsure on how long returning Paul Beesley will be sidelined after the striker suffered cruciate ligament damage in his knee last week.

Beesley is awaiting surgery on the injury and could be out for the season.

Weaver is casting his eye over former Ossett Albion striker Connor Bower as a possible replacement. Bower could join a list of triallists to feature when Town host Conference North winners Barrow on Saturday (3pm).