Harrogate Town v Bromley: Joe Leesley on his chances of a return to action

Harrogate Town's Joe Leesley in action against Eastleigh. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town's Joe Leesley in action against Eastleigh. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Joe Leesley has not featured for Harrogate Town since a substitute appearance against Stockport County on February 2.

He was initially rested by manager Simon Weaver before picking up a knock to his ankle in training which ruled him out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge.

The influential left-winger has however now returned to full training following a week of gym work and has declared himself available for selection when Bromley visit the CNG Stadium this evening (Tuesday).

“I picked up a little knock, and the problem I had in pre-season when I rolled my ankle flared up again,” Leesley revealed.

“That’s what kept me out of the Dagenham game.

“I spent last week in the gym and then I went back to full training yesterday (Monday) and did everything with all the other lads.

“I spoke to the gaffer afterwards and declared myself available for selection. I'm down to come in and do some running today, so I'm not sure I'll be involved against Bromley, but I’d love to be.

"If I get to play I’ll be absolutely buzzing. If I’m not in the squad then I’ve got the rest of the week to go out and train hard and see if I can break back in to the team for Saturday’s fixture.”

Leesley admits that he’s found it “massively frustrating” watching from the sidelines in recent weeks, but said he understands why he has not been in the team.

“I’m someone who will always be frustrated when I’m not playing,” he added.

“I’ve found it massively frustrating, but as a professional you have to respect the gaffer and what he chooses to do.

“We had a chat before the FA Trophy game at Dover Athletic because he felt I was looking a bit tired.

“I’d played something like 140 games for Harrogate Town in a fairly short space of time and he was right to pull me out. The Christmas period was a busy one and it had taken a lot out of my legs.

“The team has been on a decent run since then and the boys are playing well so the gaffer has wanted to stay consistent with his selection, which I understand.

“It’s up to me to just keep showing what I can do in training because I’m desperate to get back in the team.

“I’ve got massively itchy feet and when I’m needed I’ll be ready. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.”

With what he describes as “12 cup finals” remaining this season as Town look to finish their first-ever National League campaign inside the top seven, Leesley feels there is still all to play for.

“There are a lot of big games between now and the end of the season. We have 12 cup finals to look forwards to," he said.

“Obviously we want to finish in a play-off spot. After the start we made to the season it would definitely be a disappointment if we missed out.”