'Gutted' Dominic Knowles would have been 'happy to stay' at Harrogate Town

Dominic Knowles' farewell appearance in a Harrogate Town shirt came in the National League play-off eliminator loss at AFC Fylde. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Dominic Knowles' farewell appearance in a Harrogate Town shirt came in the National League play-off eliminator loss at AFC Fylde. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Dominic Knowles has admitted that he was left "gutted" by Harrogate Town's decision to release him after the conclusion of the 2018/19 season.

The 27-year-old striker made more than 100 appearances in a yellow and black shirt during two spells at the club, scoring 46 goals and contributing 29 assists.

Arguably the finest period of his Town career came at the back end of the 2017/18 campaign where he netted nine times in three matches, including braces in both the National League North play-off semi-final and final.

Yet, just less than a year on from firing the Wetherby Road outfit into English football's fifth tier, Knowles was informed that his contract would not be renewed.

"I'm gutted. I'm sad to be leaving Harrogate Town and I would have been happy to stay, but that's football," he said.

"This is a club that is really close to my heart and I've made so many good friends during my time here, however there aren't all that many players who spend four years with the same team.

"It's the nature of the business that we work in. Footballers move on all the time.

"It's disappointing, but to be fair to the gaffer [Simon Weaver] he was really honest with me and said that the reason for his decision had nothing to do with my ability as a footballer.

"I've got plenty of good memories. The play-off matches against Chorley and Brackley at the end of last season are probably the highlight. They're the sort of games that any player dreams of being involved in."

Knowles has endured his fair share of injury problems during his time at Town, particularly this term where he missed more than half of the season due to a mystery foot issue, then ankle ligament damage.

And ultimately, the amount of time he has spent on the sidelines is the reason the club decided not to offer the former Burnley trainee a new deal.

"It's been really frustrating for me because they've all been strange injuries and freak problems. It's not as if I've had recurring issues and kept pulling a hamstring or been suffering from a persistent bad back," Knowles added.

"They've pretty much all been things that I couldn't have done anything about. I wouldn't say that I haven't looked after myself or that I've not trained properly.

"It has been hard spending so much time out of the team and not being able to contribute.

"I think I've played about 25 games this season and I reckon if I'd have managed 35 then it might have been a different conversation that I ended up having with the gaffer, but it is what it is."

With such a fine goal-scoring record, it is unlikely that Knowles will be short of offers from elsewhere this summer, however he revealed that he hasn't yet given too much thought to what he will do next.

"I don't know. I haven't really thought too much about it yet," he said.

"I'm very laid back. Hopefully something will get sorted in the next month or so as I feel I still have a hell of a lot to offer.

"I'm confident that if I can stay fit then I'll always score plenty of goals. Wherever I've been, I've always shown that.

"I'd love to stay in the National League. I'm the same as any footballer, I want to play at the highest level that I can."