Connor Hall credits Harrogate Town team-mate Rory McArdle with helping improve his game

Connor Hall has credited central-defensive partner Rory McArdle with helping improve his game during his short time at Wetherby Road.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 8:54 am
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 1:02 pm
Rory McArdle joined Harrogate Town from Exeter City this summer. Pictures: Harrogate Town AFC
Rory McArdle joined Harrogate Town from Exeter City this summer. Pictures: Harrogate Town AFC

The vastly-experienced former Bradford City centre-half joined the Sulphurites from Exeter City as recently as this summer, but the pair have struck up a decent rapport at the heart of Simon Weaver’s back-four.

Having only turned professional when he joined Harrogate just over two years ago after spending the majority of his semi-pro career playing in midfield, Hall is still learning his trade as a defender, though he insists he feels as if he is developing all the time alongside the ex-Northern Ireland international.

“Playing alongside Rory has helped me, without a doubt,” the 28-year-old told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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Harrogate Town centre-half Connor Hall.

“I’ve already learned a lot from him and I’m sure I will continue to keep learning the more I play and train with him.

“You just have to look at his career. He’s played so many games in the Football League and got so much experience, working alongside him can only improve me as a player.

“He’s a very good centre-half and he knows the level, so his signing has definitely benefited my game.

“Sometimes in games I’ll turn to him and ask him ‘should I have done that?’ or ‘ was that the right thing to do?’. It’s good to have that and to be able to do it.”

It is that ability and willingness to communicate on 34-year-old McArdle’s part that Hall feels has really aided him.

“He is always talking, always letting you know where you need to be, and telling you if you’re not in the right position,” he added.

“He organises everyone around him and that’s taken the pressure off me a little bit. Obviously I still communicate out on the pitch, but Rory takes care of a lot of that side of things, which just makes my life easier. I can focus more on my own game, on playing football and it’s nice to be able to do that.”

Hall was also full of praise for goalkeeper Mark Oxley, who replaced James Belshaw as Weaver’s number one this summer and has shone since Town’s League Two campaign got underway .

“I think Mark has been brilliant,” he continued.

“He has helped us out of trouble a number of times and that gives you confidence as a defender.

“Look at that penalty save at Leyton Orient. That was a big moment. If they score that right at the start of the second half at 2-0 they probably end up getting something out of the game, but he’s gone the right way and kept it out.”