Harrogate Town aiming fill their starting XI with 'Football League pedigree' for 2022/23 campaign

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has outlined his intentions for the summer transfer window.

By Rhys Howell
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 11:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 11:11 pm
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Following on from an underwhelming 2021/22 campaign which saw the club finish 19th in League Two, the Sulphurites boss is letting eight members of his squad leave Wetherby Road upon the expiry of their contracts and has placed a further three on the transfer-list.

As such, with just nine first-team players left on the books who still look to be in his plans and one more currently negotiating a new deal, it appears that Weaver will be in the market for in the region of a dozen new signings during the close season.

“It will be a new group next season and we’re looking for a better mixture of Football League pedigree and young, aspirational characters,” he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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“The players we are bringing in, we want them to come in and strengthen the starting XI, but you can never guarantee any player that they will start games.

“As always, it comes down to pre-season and how people perform, how they train. That will determine who starts the season in the team.

“But we are looking to strengthen in every area of the pitch. Next season we want a squad where we are absolutely solid in every position.

“We want the starting XI to be genuine League Two standard and the players pushing for those shirts to be of the same quality.”

And, while Weaver admits that he has already held conversations with a few of his transfer targets, he insists that the club have to try and continue with their usual patient approach to recruitment.

“We have talked to a couple of players already,” he added.

“We’ve held talks with one or two, which is quite early for us really. But we had to wait for all of the League One and Two retained lists to be finalised and released before we did too much.

“As always, we try and bide our time a little bit to make sure that we’re not snatching at anything, making sure that if there are any niggles, anything that we’re not quite sure about, that we’re not rushing in.

“It’s an exhaustive process, I can promise the supporters that much. And it does take time if you want to get it right.

“But, we’ve got Lloyd [Kerry] on board now heading up our recruitment and this is an exciting time for the club.”

Goalkeeper Joe Cracknell, defenders Ryan Fallowfield and Lewis Page, midfielders Simon Power, Connor Kirby and Joe Leesley and striker Mark Beck have not been offered new deals at Wetherby Road, while the long-serving Kerry had already announced his intention to retire.

Their exits will leave Town with 12 players contracted beyond this summer, though three of them – defenders Nathan Sheron and Leon Legge and striker Aaron Martin – have been placed on the transfer list.

Thirty-five-year-old centre-half Rory McArdle is however in talks with the Sulphurites over the possibility of extending his stay in North Yorkshire.