Harrogate Town's Lloyd Kerry preparing himself for 'emotional' swansong

Lloyd Kerry is preparing himself for what he anticipates will be an “emotional” final game as a Harrogate Town player.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 12:37 pm
Lloyd Kerry came off the substitutes' bench to net Harrogate Town's third goal in last weekend's 3-1 win at Forest Green Rovers. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The long serving 33-year-old is set to hang up his boots after Saturday’s League Two clash with Sutton United, the Sulphurites’ last fixture of the 2021/22 season.

The former Sheffield United and Chesterfield midfielder is not leaving Wetherby Road having been appointed the club’s new head of recruitment, but is still in line for a big send-off given his club legend status.

“Obviously I’m hoping to play some part in the game, it should be a good occasion for me,” Kerry told the Harrogate Advertiser.

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Lloyd Kerry at Wembley Stadium with the 2019/20 National League play-off final winners' trophy.

“I’m sure it will be an emotional day. All my family are coming and if I end up starting the game then I’ll be walking out onto the pitch with my kids, which will be special.

“I do expect that there will be some emotion because my dad, who has played a big part in my career, and a lot of other people who have had a lot of influence will be there watching.

“It’s going to be quite strange knowing that it will be my final match, the last time I will walk out at Wetherby Road after eight years but we’ve got to remember that it’s not a testimonial.

"Saturday is a proper competitive League Two fixture, we want to get a result, to finish the season on a high and I’d like to go out with a win.”

Kerry joined Town back in 2014 and has featured in more than 220 games, helping the club to promotion from both National League North and the National League, plus an FA Trophy win at Wembley.

And, while he says he is “delighted“ to be extending his eight-year stay with Town he admits that he hadn’t given retirement any serious consideration prior to having a conversation with manager Simon Weaver about his future in January.

“My contract is up this summer and, as a player in that situation, you need to know where you stand and to be able to start planning for what’s next,” he explained.

“I had basically become a squad player this season and wasn’t getting too many minutes so I had a conversation with the gaffer in January.

“Retiring wasn’t in my mind. I was wondering whether I would have to go somewhere else in order to be able to play more regularly, but when we spoke he offered me the new role as head of recruitment.

“I had to think about it for a while. I had to weigh it all up and speak to my family because it’s a big decision. And, although I wasn’t considering retiring, I’ve been picking up more niggles than ever this season and I know my own body.

“It feels like this is the right time. The new role excites me and League Two is the highest level I’ve played at, so to finish while I still feel like I’m performing well and contributing, it is a nice way to go out.”

Town chief Weaver has revealed that Kerry picked up a niggle in training earlier this week and sat the session out as a precaution but does not expect it to prevent him from playing against Sutton.