Harrogate Town winger Joe Leesley joins Stockport County on loan

Joe Leesley has joined Stockport County on loan. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Joe Leesley has joined Stockport County on loan. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Harrogate Town winger Joe Leesley has joined National League rivals Stockport County on a short-term loan deal.

The 25-year-old has found himself sidelined in recent weeks and wasn't included in Simon Weaver's match-day 16 for the recent fixtures against Chorley and Torquay United.

Having begun the season with a bang, netting a screamer against Solihull Moors on the opening day, Leesley started Town's first five matches before being dropped to the bench when Weaver switched from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-3.

And having made no secret of his desire to play regular football in the past, the 2017/18 National League North Player of the Season has opted to make the temporary switch to the Hatters in a bid to get some game-time.

"Joe approached me about it [leaving on loan] because, as he's said in the past, he just wants to play games," boss Weaver revealed.

"He's found himself on the periphery in recent weeks and needs to get some game-time. He's joining a good club who need a left-sided player, according their manager.

"There's been no fall-out. I want players like Joe who want to be playing. He's a good, honest lad and I understand that he is frustrated, I would be the same in his position.

"We tweaked our system and Joe has found himself out of the team and the only way to get back in is by playing, scoring goals and contributing assists and he now has the chance to go and do that at Stockport."

Although happy for Leesley to make a short-term move away from Town, Weaver insists that this is not the end as far his career at Wetherby Road is concerned.

"The door is absolutely still open," he added.

"I want Joe to go there and get plenty of minutes and do well and come back here razor sharp in January.

"I think he just needs a change to kick-start him and get things rolling."

Leesley, a former England 'C' international, joined Town from Alfreton in June 2016.

He has been a first-team regular throughout his time at the CNG Stadium, making 134 starts, contributing 34 goals and no fewer than 71 assists.