Harrogate Town v Chesterfield: There is still more to come - Leesley

Joe Leesley scored his first goal of the season against Dagenham & Redbridge. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Joe Leesley scored his first goal of the season against Dagenham & Redbridge. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Joe Leesley believes he is currently playing the best football of his career, but insists there is still more to come ahead of Saturday's clash with Chesterfield.

The Harrogate Town winger missed almost the entirety of pre-season through injury and began 2018/19 on the substitutes’ bench as he worked his way back to full fitness.

He has subsequently rediscovered top form, contributing 13 assists in just 16 starts this term.

And, in his own opinion, he is now performing better than he did during the previous campaign when he was voted National League North Player of the Year.

“I feel like I’m fully fit now, I’m playing week in, week out and I definitely think I’m performing better than last season,” Leesley said.

“We got promoted to the National League and I felt as though I had to step up another level, so as a result I’d say that I’m playing as well now as I ever have.

“I’m doing more for the team, particularly defensively, and my overall work-rate has improved, but I’m still not satisfied.

“I’m confident in my own ability and I’m sure there is more to come. Hopefully in the weeks to come I can chip in with some more match-winning performances and goals.”

Although there have been no shortage of scoring-passes to team-mates, plus killer deliveries from wide areas and set-pieces, Leesley was without a goal this term until he netted against Dagenham & Redbridge last weekend.

“I set myself a target before the season of reaching double-figures for both goals and assists and it’s taken a lot longer than I would have liked to score my first,” he added.

“I was pleased to get one at Dagenham but I need a few more. I still believe I will get to my target.”

The next opportunity for Leesley to add to his tally comes when Chesterfield visit the CNG Stadium on Saturday.

Relegated from the Football League at the end of last season, the Spireites were within touching distance of the Championship as recently as 2015, qualifying for the League One play-offs.

“If you’d have said that Harrogate Town would be heavy favourites going into a match with Chesterfield a couple of years ago, it would have been seen as a ludicrous statement,” the 24-year-old continued.

“But that’s the reality now. It’s a big game for us against a huge club, but all that matters is that we get the three points.”

Currently 19th in the table, Chesterfield made the perfect start to life in the National League, winning their opening three matches without conceding a single goal.

A six-game losing run was to follow, however, and Martin Allen's team have not managed three points since.

They are however unbeaten in their last half a dozen games, a run that includes a 3-1 FA Cup success on the road at AFC Fylde.

The Spireites have demonstrated a never say die attitude in recent weeks, picking up successive 1-1 draws in their last two outings, last-gasp Jonathan Smith strikes salvaging a point on each occasion.

Saturday's contest kicks-off at 3pm. Follow @HarrogateSport on Twitter for live updates and post-match reaction.