Harrogate Town’s Joe Mattock happy to embrace responsibilities of a senior pro

Former England Under-21 international Joe Mattock says that assuming the role of a senior pro in Harrogate Town’s dressing room is something that he will embrace following his move to Wetherby Road.

By Rhys Howell
Friday, 29th July 2022, 2:52 pm
Joe Mattock is in line to make his competitive Harrogate Town debut against Swindon Town on Saturday. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Joe Mattock is in line to make his competitive Harrogate Town debut against Swindon Town on Saturday. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The vastly-experienced 32-year-old defender joined the League Two Sulphurites having helped Rotherham United achieve promotion from League One to the Championship last term.

And, having amassed almost 400 league appearances in the second and third tiers of English football during a professional career spanning 15 years, there can’t have been too many better-qualified options out there this summer as far as shoring up a back-line that was the joint-second-leakiest in the division last season is concerned.

“Coming in as a senior player, it’s always your responsibility to look out for the younger lads and pass on the experiences that I’ve had and what I’ve done,” Mattock said.

“It’s my time to take a lead role, especially in the back-line and push the team forwards.

“Hopefully, what I can give can make an improvement on this side, but we will have to wait and see.

“I’m looking forward to the season ahead and it’s one that I am hoping to enjoy.”

Mattock has never played lower than League One previously, but insists that he is not fazed by the prospect of dropping down to the fourth tier.

"I've enjoyed it since I came here,” he added.

“There’s not much difference between League One and League Two.

“At the end of the day it’s a game of football and all the lads who I’m playing with are professional footballers.

“They are where they are for a reason and, from what I’ve seen so far, there is some serious talent in this side and I really do think we can do well this year.”

On his first off-season as a Harrogate player, Mattock revealed: "Pre-season has been tough here, though any pre-season is tough, it's got to be these days.

"And it's not only when you're here, you have got to make sure that you are physically fit and mentally fit before you even come back for pre-season. That is just the way football is these days.

"Rotherham go down the route of doing longer training sessions, you're probably in from nine o'clock and you're not getting home until five o'clock, whereas the training here is more intense, but a lot shorter.

"But it's all very hard. Some of the runs I've done since I came here, I have never seen before. They are very, very tough runs and you can see that in the lads because some of them are very, very fit and raring to go, which is obviously a big positive.”

Mattock is in line to make his Town debut when the Sulphurites kick-off their 2022/23 League Two campaign at home to Swindon on Saturday (3pm).

Nine of the ex-West Bromwich Albion defender’s fellow summer signings are also in contention to play their first competitive match in Harrogate colours this weekend.

Winger Max Wright (ankle) is the one new recruit to miss out, joining Josh Falkingham, Rory McArdle and Will Smith on the sidelines.