Rory McArdle the only one of nine out-of-contract players to be offered a new deal by Harrogate Town

At 35 years of age, Rory McArdle is the oldest of the nine Harrogate Town players whose contracts expire this summer.

By Rhys Howell
Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:03 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:07 am
Harrogate Town centre-half Rory McArdle. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC
Harrogate Town centre-half Rory McArdle. Picture: Harrogate Town AFC

But, the veteran centre-half is the only one among that number to have been offered a new deal at Wetherby Road as the Sulphurites prepare to overhaul their squad ahead of the 2022/23 season.

McArdle made 26 appearances this term, 24 of them from the start, having joined the club from Exeter City last year and has impressed manager Simon Weaver for the most part.

And, although Town finished the campaign with the joint-second-worst defensive record in League Two after whipping boys Scunthorpe, Weaver feels that his side have looked better at the back when the ex-Bradford City defender has been on the pitch.

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Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Hence, the parties are currently in negotiations over extending McArdle's stay in North Yorkshire.

"We love Rory to bits, I think he's performed well in a lot of games since he's been here," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"We've conceded too many goals this season and we have to improve in that area but we've looked more organised when he has played.

"Because of the vast experience he has had and the levels he has played at previously, there are players who can learn a lot from him.

"We envisage him helping and guiding the younger lads at the back. We know he's a good communicator, a real leader and I think other players will benefit from that.

"I would expect he will also dip into the coaching side, doing a bit with our Player Development Centre, but at the same time, it's also important that he is challenging for a place in the team."

In addition to the way McArdle handles himself out on the field, Weaver also feels that the former Northern Ireland international plays a key role inside the Town dressing room.

"One of the reasons we brought him in was because we wanted another big brother figure in the changing room, someone who has been there and done it," Harrogate's manager added.

"He's such a top professional. If he is ever left out of the side, he stays ultra-professional, he handles that disappointment better than some others have.

"I think part of that is because of the fact that he has been in the game so long, but it's also down to him having exactly the kind of character we want.

"He knows how to react and what to say whether we've won, lost or drawn and you need that in the group.

"For example, when you're on long trips back from an away game when you've lost and people can be a bit down, it's important to have characters like Rory who can handle it, who know how to pick the other lads up. He's the type of character you want to have around."