James Belshaw edges closer to Harrogate Town exit

Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw looks to be nearing the Wetherby Road exit door.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 8th July 2021, 7:27 am
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 7:30 am
Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town goalkeeper James Belshaw. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The 30-year-old left the Sulphurites’ pre-season training camp at Carden Park in Cheshire this week to go on trial at an unnamed club with a view to a permanent transfer.

Belshaw, who has made 184 appearances during his four years with the club and played a huge part in Town winning two promotions, has been stripped of the number one shirt he has worn since his arrival in 2017 following the recent signing of Mark Oxley.

And although a deal that will take him away from Harrogate is yet to be concluded, it appears to be only a matter of time before he departs.

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Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

“Belly has had his agent talking to a few clubs and he’s going to be with another side for a week so they can have a closer look at him with a view to a move there,” Town manager Simon Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Nothing is signed yet, but that is where we are. He wanted to take the opportunity to go there and fair play to him.”

Weaver has revealed that the decision to bring in a goalkeeper with more Football League experience was taken in May and that Belshaw was informed of the club’s intentions at the time.

"We started chatting to Belly about the goalkeeping situation and what was going to happen this summer all the way back in May,” he said.

“We explained to him that we were looking for a goalkeeper with more EFL experience to come in and be our number one.

“As a management team we looked at everything and we felt we conceded too many goals last season. We’re looking to evolve and improve our squad in all areas – we’ve signed two strikers when we already had three on the books, for example.

"We are continuously aiming to improve and grow as we strive to establish ourselves as an EFL club and it's the job of us as staff to make these kind of decisions.

“There was no fall-out, there's no animosity and we didn’t say that the door was closed for James. But, he said that he didn’t want to be a number two because he’s got used to and enjoys playing regularly, and I understand where he’s coming from.”