No Harrogate Town return for Joe Leesley as Football League switch is agreed

Joe Leesley will not play for Harrogate Town again this season after a second loan switch of 2019/20 was agreed for the 25-year-old left winger.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 4:50 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 4:50 pm
Joe Leesley in action for Harrogate Town earlier this season. Picture: Matt Kirkham

The former England 'C' international's three-month spell at Stockport County came to an end this week, but with playing opportunities at Wetherby Road expected to be limited in the short term, he is on the move once again.

League Two Stevenage enquired about Leesley's availability on New Year's Day and a deal was finalised on Monday.

"I had a chat with Joe earlier this week and we've known each other long enough now that we can be straight down the line with one another," Town manager Simon Weaver revealed.

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"Joe is desperate to play games and I'm happy for him to go out and get some elsewhere at this moment in time. Of course he could have come back and fought for a place here, but this is a great opportunity for him to play in the Football League.

"It's maybe bad timing for him in that we're playing well and getting results at the moment. There's no way I'd upset the apple cart in terms of our side. We've got two wide players performing very well and two more really pushing and vying for those starting positions.

"Adding one more to the mix would mean that we had too many players in the same position and I'm not going to upset the players who have got us to within three points of the top of the National League."

Although happy to let Leesley make another short-term move away from Harrogate, Weaver insists that the door is still open for the ex-Alfreton Town man.

"We'll look at it again in the summer," the Town boss added.

"Stevenage asked about a trigger in the deal that meant they would have the option to sign Joe permanently at the end of the season, but I said no. I didn't want that.

"What I want is for him to go there, play regular football, nail it and show exactly what he can do."

Leesley joined Town from Alfreton in June 2016 and has been a first-team regular throughout his time at the CNG Stadium, making 134 starts, contributing 34 goals and no fewer than 71 assists.