Harrogate Town acquitted themselves well during pre-season loss to Sheffield Wednesday, says debutant George Horbury
The League Two Sulphurites were beaten 2-0 at home by Sheffield Wednesday on Friday evening, losing out to Josh Windass’ excellent early strike and Michael Smith’s 32nd-minute penalty.
There was a seriously unfamiliar look about Town’s team as Simon Weaver fielded all nine of his summer signings, plus a number of trialists, against opposition packed with higher-level experience.
And academy graduate Horbury, who was recently handed a professional contract after impressing for the club’s under-18s last term, said that he and his team-mates can be satisfied with their level of performance.
"The team did great, I think," he told the Harrogate Advertiser. "It was tough physically, but I thought the lads did well. I thought it was a good start to pre-season.
"I haven't really come up against opposition of that quality before, especially playing for the under-18s, so it was a great test. Sheffield Wednesday are basically a Championship club and I think we did really well to keep up with them.
"You could tell they were trying to play, the rotations were there, they were confident on the ball and also the physicality and intensity. I think they had a week before us and have played a game, so we did well to keep up with them.
"Pre-season has been tough, we've been put through our paces but everyone has stuck with it, worked hard and I think we'll see results because of the work we have put in.
"I think everyone has gelled quickly, to be honest. I think everyone has come together. We had a good trip to Loughborough and I think that everyone is on the same page and working well together."
On his own display against the Owls, half-time substitute Horbury added: "It went well, I enjoyed it.
"I think off the ball I did well, made some good tackles, on the ball I did okay. I wanted to get on it a bit more but I think I was quite tidy when I did."
Horbury, 18, is not the first product of Town’s academy, which is barely a year old, to feature for the first team, though he is the first homegrown talent to go on and secure a full-time professional deal.
And he says he is determined to keep working hard in a bid to continue improving and show that he belongs in the Football League.
"I'm just aiming to keep showing what I can do, keep improving, developing, working as hard as I can and getting the opportunities to show what I can do," he continued.
"I'm buzzing to play against Sheffield Wednesday. I wasn't really expecting it, I'm so grateful for them to give me that opportunity and hopefully I can re-pay their faith.
"I've just got to keep working hard."
Horbury and his Town team-mates return to action on Tuesday night when they entertain Championship Rotherham at the EnviroVent Stadium, 7.45pm kick-off.