Barnet fail in bid to sign Town goal-machine Ainge

Harrogate Town frontman Simon Ainge. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Harrogate Town frontman Simon Ainge. Picture: Caught Light Photography
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Simon Ainge remains a Harrogate Town player despite the efforts of Barnet to lure him away from the CNG Stadium.

The League Two strugglers failed to tie up a last-minute deal for the prolific striker before the transfer window for Football League clubs slammed shut at 11pm on Wednesday evening.

The Bees did not meet Town’s asking price for Ainge, who scored 34 times in the league in 2017 - a feat that left him second only to Tottenham and England forward Harry Kane (39) in terms of goals scored in the top six tiers of English football during the calendar year.

“There is no way that we wanted to lose Aingey, but at the same time we didn’t want to stand in his way and prevent him from playing in the Football League,” Town boss Simon Weaver explained.

“Barnet came in for him and we told them what we wanted. We weren’t going to just give away one our most important players, but there was no way we would price him out of a move by asking for silly money.

“It was a fair price but Barnet weren’t able to offer what we were asking, so Aingey is still here and I’m very pleased about that.

“There are 14 games to go in the league, we’re fighting for promotion and still going strong in the FA Trophy, so it would be a bad time to lose everything that he offers.

“To be honest, I was quite relieved when it got to 11pm and the window closed and we hadn’t lost anyone, because when you’re doing well as a club there is always going to be interest in your players.”

Ainge, converted from a centre-half to a striker by Weaver, scored 31 National League North goals between January and August 2017 before he suffered a leg injury in Town’s 2-0 success at Blyth Spartans.

That injury kept him out of action until December, but he has still managed to register 13 times so far during the 2017/18 campaign, the most recent of which came in Saturday’s 2-1 win over AFC Telford United.