Harrogate Town to release eight players, while three more are transfer-listed

Harrogate Town will release eight members of their first-team squad upon expiry of their contracts and have made three more available for transfer.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 3:52 pm
Right-back Ryan Fallowfield will leave Harrogate Town this summer following a five-season stint at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Right-back Ryan Fallowfield will leave Harrogate Town this summer following a five-season stint at Wetherby Road. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

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 Lloyd Kerry has already announced his intention to retire from playing.

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.

Town have 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.

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Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

"We've had to make some really hard decisions for a variety of different reasons," manager Simon Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"This has been a very sad week saying goodbye to some of these lads because there are some great characters that will be leaving us, players who have played a big part in helping us to get to where we are today.

"But, we have had to be decisive in our plans. We conceded far too many goals last season, we lost too many games and we need to improve our squad.

"The decisions we have made, they have all been taken with the aim of making us better. Next season we want a squad where we are absolutely solid in every position."

Weaver has spent this week having face-to-face conversations with his players about their futures and insists that Town will do everything they can to help those who have been let go find new clubs.

"I was reading the other night about a player who had made something like 200 appearances for his club finding out that he was being released via a phone-call which lasted 25 seconds," the Harrogate boss added.

"There will be no horror stories like that coming out of our club. I've made sure that I've spoken to everyone, that they've all had an explanation and been given a reason why we have made our decision. We believe in always trying to be honest and up front.

"And we will do plenty to help these lads find new clubs. We'll go above and beyond in that regard. We'll put together video montages for them and do what we can.

"These are all good lads and we want them to find new homes at places where they are going to be able to play regular football.

"I want to be really clear here, I really hope that all of these players go on to enjoy a lot of success in the future."

Should Sheron, Legge and Martin be offloaded, that would leave Town with just nine contracted first-team players who remain in Weaver's plans moving forwards.

Thus, although McArdle would increase that number to 10 should he agree a new deal, it is inevitable that this summer is going to be a busy one for the Sulphurites, with somewhere in the region of a dozen new players likely to be arriving at the EnviroVent Stadium.

"It is going to be a big change for us," Weaver continued.

"It will be the biggest change we have seen here in terms of the playing squad since we went full-time [in 2017].

"But, that worked out, we did well that season and that is what we are aiming to do again.

"I think that this is an exciting time for the club. We've got Lloyd [Kerry] working with us off the pitch now heading up our recruitment and one thing I can promise is that a lot of hard work and energy is going into getting this right."

Released: Joe Cracknell, Ryan Fallowfield, Lewis Page, Simon Power, Connor Kirby, Joe Leesley, Mark Beck, Lloyd Kerry (retired).

Negotiating a new contract: Rory McArdle.

Retained: Mark Oxley, Will Smith, Warren Burrell, Josh Falkingham, George Thomson, Alex Pattison, Jack Muldoon, Luke Armstrong, Danilo Orsi.

Under contract, but now transfer-listed: Nathan Sheron, Leon Legge, Aaron Martin.