Skrill North: Harrogate Town boss plots big changes ahead of 2014/15 title challenge

Simon Weaver
Simon Weaver

Simon Weaver has planned an upheaval for his Harrogate Town squad but said his dealings would fall short of a mass overhaul.

Weaver intends to work with a smaller squad next season after having more than 25 players on the books at times during this campaign.

He indicated he wants a squad of 18 “winners” to fight for the Skrill North title next year, after ending this campaign in ninth on Saturday.

“We need to strengthen the squad but it won’t be an overhaul,” said Weaver.

The boss confirmed contract talks were underway with striker Ashley Worsfold, whilst Dan Clayton and Leigh Franks are already tied down.

Craig MacGillivray will also sign re-engagement forms which will ensure Town receive compensation should he leave the CNG Stadium.

“I don’t know whether his agent will want him to move away,” said Weaver

Young players Peter Crook, Dom Rowe, Alex Metcalfe and Eddie Birch will also remain on the books. The gaffer will visit his players individually over the next two weeks to tell them if they are staying or going.

Weaver said: “It’s an exciting time on one hand because you have a blank canvas. But on the other, we will be saying goodbye to a few.

“We are going to be talking to a few strikers and players down the core of the team. We need a bit more experience at the back, a bit more legs in midfield and potency up front. Overall, we need to improve.

“We are not going to work on as big a squad but we will have the likes of Peter Crook, Dom Rowe, Alex Metcalfe and Eddie Birch. We need the young players to come back flying.”

One of Weaver’s new arrivals could be York City defender David McGurk, who announced last week he was stepping into the semi-professional game.

Weaver played alongside the centre-back whilst at the Minstermen in 2006, and he confirmed he would be in talks.

The boss said: “He’s one of the names we are looking at. He’s such a talented guy and rarely has a bad game.”

Town completed their season with a “disappointing” 3-1 defeat at Stockport County on Saturday, their only goal a superb 25-yard curling half-volley from Dom Rowe.

This left them ninth in Skrill North, three places below where they finished in 2012-13.

But Weaver refused to deem the campaign as a failure.

He added: “I certainly don’t see it as a failure.

“That means every club other than the top two that go up has failed. There are circumstances that have got in our way.

“However, we stuttered too much in the early part of the season.

“Too many players took too long to get into the game plan.

“What happened when we were third, had we not had those injuries, I think we would be in the top six.

“Any team in the top five would have dropped out of the play-offs if they had had six players out.”