Harrogate Town expect Luke Armstrong to return to training as they await improved transfer bids

Luke Armstrong in pre-season action for Harrogate Town. Pictures: Matt KirkhamLuke Armstrong in pre-season action for Harrogate Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Luke Armstrong in pre-season action for Harrogate Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town have not received any improved transfer bids for wantaway striker Luke Armstrong, with the player expected to return to group training on Thursday.

The 27-year-old was subject to a number of offers from League One and League Two clubs last week, leading to him making himself unavailable for Saturday’s 2023/24 season-opener at Doncaster Rovers.

Those bids were knocked back by the Sulphurites, however Armstrong was once again absent from their match-day squad for Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup win over Carlisle United having said before the weekend that he didn’t feel in the right frame of mind to take to the field.

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Armstrong still has two years to run on his contract, and has recently been offered a new three-year deal, but since learning that last season’s 16-goal top-scorer wants to leave, Town boss Simon Weaver has softened his stance on the matter.

Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.
Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

The Sulphurites chief remains hopeful that the former Middlesbrough forward will opt to stay, though has confirmed he would now let him move on for a “significant” transfer fee – if he can line up a suitable replacement.

Speaking after his side’s midweek success over Carlisle, he said: "We are no further forward, really. There are still interested parties, but I’ve heard nothing today from anyone.

"At the minute, the offers that have come in have not met our valuation – and obviously we value him highly.

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“Luke had said that he didn’t feel that he could be at his best for the team on Saturday and Tuesday, but we are very much hoping that he comes back into the fold on Thursday.

"As far as I’m aware, he will be training with the rest of the group on Thursday, which would be great, it will be good to see him.

"He did come in to train [on Tuesday] with the rest of the group of players who weren’t involved against Carlisle, and trained very well by all accounts, so that was good to hear.”

Town have performed well without the spearhead of their attack in their first two games of the new campaign, recording back-to-back 1-0 victories.

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And while Weaver admits that he could have done without such a situation to contend with, he says the door remains open for Armstrong.

"I wouldn’t have wished to have been in this situation, there’s no doubt about it,” he added.

"We want a happy camp, everyone to be happy, Luke to be happy. And he deserves to be happy because he has put in an enormous effort, like the rest of the players, during pre-season and the off-season, because he is a dedicated player.

"It’s a difficult situation, but he has got two years left and we hope that he will see that out.”

Town return to League Two action this Saturday when they host Forest Green Rovers at Wetherby Road, 3pm kick-off.