Harrogate Town's latest signing Max Wright's ankle injury revealed to be worse than first thought

Disaster has struck on the eve of the 2022/23 campaign for Harrogate Town and their most recent acquisition, Max Wright.
Harrogate Town winger Max Wright in pre-season action against Huddersfield Town. Pictures: Matt KirkhamHarrogate Town winger Max Wright in pre-season action against Huddersfield Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town winger Max Wright in pre-season action against Huddersfield Town. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The 24-year-old winger, who became the Sulphurites’ 10th new signing of the summer last week, has been ruled out of action for a significant period of time with an ankle injury.

Former Grimsby attacker Wright was unveiled as a Town player on July 20 following a successful trial period at Wetherby Road and went on to break the deadlock in a 2-2 pre-season draw with Championship Barnsley just a couple of hours later.

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That early opener provided a glimpse of the undoubted quality that Wright has to offer, but was, rather worryingly, followed by his withdrawal some 11 minutes before half-time after a collision with one of his team-mates.

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

It was not initially thought that any serious damage has been done to the ex-Mariner’s ankle, with Harrogate manager Simon Weaver reporting that his new recruit would miss Saturday’s friendly at Gateshead but was expected to return to training ahead of this weekend’s League Two curtain-raiser at home to Swindon.

Further tests have however shown that the severity of the injury is considerably worse than first thought.

"Max is going to be out for a few months due to a problem with his ankle that he sustained in a collision during our game against Barnsley," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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"It's a new injury. He's had a scan which has revealed the extent of the issue. It's so unlucky for the lad and a real blow for both him and for us.

"He has been a real breath of fresh air since he came in here and we feel for him. But we will look after him, we'll take care of him and get him back out there as soon as we can."

Wright has been plagued by injuries in recent years, meaning that he managed just 13 appearances for Grimsby in the National League last term and played only eight times in 2020/21 due to a combination of thigh, hamstring and ankle issues.

Weaver conceded last week that signing a player with such a track record was a "calculated risk", but one that he was prepared to take on a young talent whom he believes would be operating at a higher level were it not for his fitness problems.

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Asked how frustrated he was to then lose Wright to injury less than four hours after it was confirmed that he had signed a permanent deal with the club, the Harrogate chief replied: "It is frustrating not to have a really good player available for selection.

"I could talk about the situation from the team's perspective because obviously we want Max to be able to play, but actually what I'm really concerned about at this stage is the lad himself.

"He has had a few injuries, so it would be easy for him to start feeling sorry for himself, but mentally I know he is so strong and he won't let this setback get on top of him.

"That can happen to players who have a tough time with injuries, particularly younger lads, however I know how determined Max is to succeed and we are just looking forward to having him back."

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Wright joins skipper Josh Falkingham, veteran Rory McArdle and long-term casualty Will Smith on Town's injury list, meaning that Weaver will be without at least four key men for this Saturday's clash with Swindon, which kicks-off at Wetherby Road at 3pm.