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Leesley signs new Town deal, but Ainge departs for Darlo

Joe Leesley puts pen to paper on his new Harrogate Town contract. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Joe Leesley puts pen to paper on his new Harrogate Town contract. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Joe Leesley has committed his future to Harrogate Town, but goal-machine Simon Ainge has left for pastures new.

Winger Leesley, the National League North Player of the Season, penned a new two-year deal at the CNG Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Simon Ainge has joined Darlington. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Simon Ainge has joined Darlington. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The 24-year-old has contributed 31 goals and 50 assists in 102 appearances in a Town shirt since joining from Alfreton Town in June 2016 and was a mainstay of the team that won promotion to the National League this season.

He will however not be linking up with striker Ainge as the club make the step up to the fifth tier of English football for the first time next term.

The former Bradford City centre-half turned centre-forward spent the latter part of 2017/18 on loan at Wrexham after losing his place in Town’s starting line-up.

And he has now completed a permanent move to Darlington for an undisclosed fee.

Ainge scored 34 times in National League North 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.

Despite injury problems, he still netted on 14 occasions for Town in just 16 starts in 2017/18.

Read more in Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser.