Ten players leave Harrogate Town as Weaver sticks with youth
After a disappointing 15th place finish in Vanarama Conference North, Weaver has, unsurprisingly, released several of the experienced players that had found themselves in the stands towards the end of the campaign.
Former captain Shane Killock and last season’s top goalscorer James Walshaw head the list of players leaving through the exit door.
Killock led Town to their furthest FA Cup passage in history in 2012 when he walked the team out against Hastings in the second round replay defeat.
Weaver had called him one of the best defenders at Conference North level the following season, but the former Leeds United man found himself sidelined midway through last year’s campaign.
“He will always be remembered as the captain that to the team the furthest its ever been in the cup,” said Weaver.
“Shane has always given us 100 per cent but, whilst he has had three years with us, maybe it’s time to cut the cord and the right time for him to try a different set up.”
Following Adam Nowakowski’s decision to leave the club - revealed in last week’s Advertiser Series - the Town management have also opted against renewing contracts for Dom Rowe, Leigh Franks, Jamie Milligan Rhys Meynell, Phil Barnes, Simon Lenighan and Niall Doran.
Lloyd Kerry, who ended the season out on loan, will return to the Town squad to fulfil a two-year deal signed in 2014. However, Jake Speight, who was also on a two-year deal, has been encouraged to find another club.
Ashley Worsfold has not been offered a new contract, but has been invited back to the club for pre-season.
Weaver will operate on a “slightly lower” budget in the newly-branded National North next season and has not ruled out the possibility of his younger squad upping the number of training sessions per week to three.
The end of Walshaw’s stay at the CNG Stadium will play a part in reducing the wage bill, with “four or five” new recruits expected to bulk up the squad next season.
Weaver said: “We have talked to a few players, and have a real focus on where we need strengthening. We want a steel down the core of the team but we have to make sure the experience players that come in are the right type, that will embrace the club and sweat blood for the club.”
Goalkeeper Peter Crook has been handed reassurances over the number one jersey and has agreed a two-year stay – reversing a previous plan to study in America to stay at the club.
Weaver said: “He has already stepped up two levels and excelled. We have told him he can go higher. Craig MacGillivray has done that, and there’s nothing to say Peter can’t do it too.”
On the squad as a whole, he added: “I have been really happy with all of the players that we are keeping. They have all sweat blood for us, and all were desperate to stay.
“There was no way I was taking the sheers to it. When you make a lot of changes, it takes a while to gel.”
WHO STAYS AND WHO GOES?
Staying: Lewis Turner, Louie Swain, Luke Shiels, Dave McGurk, Ryan Fallowfield, Andy Gascoigne, Cecil Nyoni, Jordan Thewlis, Jack Emmett, James Cadman, Paul Clayton, Lloyd Kerry, Jake Speight*
Leaving: Adam Nowakowski, James Walshaw, Dom Rowe, Leigh Franks, Rhys Meynell, Shane Killock, Phil Barnes, Simon Lenighan, Niall Doran, Jamie Milligan.
Invited back to pre-season: Ashley Worsfold; Harry Coates