Rory McArdle looking to put season of frustration behind him after agreeing a new deal at Harrogate Town

Rory McArdle says he is looking to put a season of frustration behind him after agreeing a new deal at Harrogate Town.

By Rhys Howell
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 7:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2022, 7:57 pm
Rory McArdle has put pen to paper on a new contract. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC
Rory McArdle has put pen to paper on a new contract. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC

The 34-year-old centre-half is the only one of nine out-of-contract players to be offered an extension at Wetherby Road, with the Sulphurites announcing on Thursday evening that he had opted to stay on for an extra year.

A summer signing from Exeter City, McArdle's career in North Yorkshire began brightly and he was a mainstay of Simon Weaver's back-line as Town embarked on a seven-game unbeaten run which saw them challenging at the top of League Two.

A groin injury sustained against Stevenage in late September then sidelined him for more than three months, and although he returned to action just after Christmas, he picked up another muscle injury at the start of February and was ruled out of action for almost five weeks.

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Rory McArdle made 26 appearances for Harrogate Town during the 2021/22 season.

Harrogate lost momentum shortly after McArdle was first forced out of the team and never really rediscovered it, a poor second half of the season leading to them eventually finishing up 19th in the table.

“The last season was a bit up and down from a personal point of view, so now we’ve got to take all the positives from last season, as well as areas where we fell short and work on rectifying that to keep the club moving forward," McArdle said.

“To miss a large part of the season was frustrating, we’d made a good start. At that point you’re just desperate to get back fit as quick as possible and to start having an influence on the squad on and off the pitch.

“Everyone made me feel welcome when I arrived last summer right from day one of pre-season and that’s where our focus is now to be ready to hit the ground running again.”

Having made more than 400 appearances in the Football League during an 18-year playing career, McArdle's experience, leadership and character were three of the qualities that convinced Town’s assistant manager Paul Thirlwell and boss Weaver to keep the ex-Bradford City stalwart around.

“Anyone in and around the club or who knows Rory knows he’s such a good character on and off the pitch," Thirlwell explained.

“He’s had a few difficult times with his injuries last season, but whenever he has been on the pitch he’s had real leadership qualities and adds so much.

“He’s a guy that anyone would want around the football club, he helps the younger lads progress and develop their game, while also wanting to play as many games and make a big impact on the pitch.”

McArdle made 26 competitive appearances during the 2021/22 campaign, netting one goal, against Carlisle United in April.