Why Aaron Martin was allowed to leave Harrogate Town to join FC Halifax Town on loan

Simon Weaver has stated that the door is not closed on Aaron Martin's Harrogate Town career after the powerhouse striker was allowed to leave the club on loan.

By Rhys Howell
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 6:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 9:22 am
Aaron Martin has been a bit-part player at Harrogate Town this season. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Aaron Martin has been a bit-part player at Harrogate Town this season. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

It was announced on Monday evening that the 30-year-old forward had joined National League high-flyers FC Halifax Town on a deal until the end of the season, having barely featured for the Sulphurites this term.

He has started just two matches and made six substitute appearances in Harrogate colours, his cumulative time on the field during League Two fixtures spanning less than an hour.

Now fit again following a knee injury picked up in late November, both player and manager agreed that regular first-team football was required.

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Sulphurites boss Simon Weaver.

"Azza needs game-time and, to be quite honest, he was in demand. We had a lot of interest in him," Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"But, having watched Halifax, we think he'll get on well there. They're a team doing well right at the top of the National League and it's the right fit for him in terms of where he and his family are based. It is also close by for when we want to go and watch him to check how he is getting on.

"There's something there for him to really get his teeth into. We hope he goes to Halifax and nails it in the National League.

"The door certainly isn't closed for Aaron here. We just want him to go and get games under his belt and have the opportunity to score some goals."

With 11-goal top-scorer Luke Armstrong having been one of Harrogate's most consistent performers this term, Martin could well have spent the rest of the campaign waiting in the wings - a situation that Weaver said the former Brighouse Town attacker understood, but wanted to avoid.

"Obviously Aaron hasn't played too many games and then he's been out injured for a quite a while recently," he added.

"We get on very well and he understands that the team scoring plenty of goals and Luke Armstrong playing fantastically well in the number nine role meant that his path was blocked.

"He was concerned that his match sharpness would be gone because he hasn't been playing and therefore when he does get an opportunity, he won't be ready.

"He was just really hungry to get out and play games and, from my point of view, it is great to see a player with that kind of desire.

"Like I say, there were plenty of clubs who wanted to take him. It's because he's a real asset and a bit of a rare breed. There aren't too many strikers like him who will knock defenders about the way he does but are also so full of running and hard work."

Having damaged his knee towards the end of November, Martin only returned to group training last week, though Weaver is confident that his player will be able to hit the ground running at Halifax.

"We spent two or three weeks just building up his running and easing him back into training again," the Harrogate boss continued.

"He needed to be signed off by the specialist. We use one of the top knee surgeons around and he had to wait a little while to get in to see him.

"He was feeling a little irritation in his knee that he couldn't quite get rid of and so we wanted to make sure that he was 100 per cent okay to start playing again.

"He's a big, physical guy and you want to know that you're knee is completely right before you start with the constant pounding of football again.

"He needed that reassurance that he wouldn't do himself any long-term damage, but the specialist was happy with everything so he started training with the group again last week."

Martin made 42 appearances for Harrogate last season, the club's first in the Football League. He scored six goals and also chipped in with half-a-dozen assists.

He has failed to register for his parent club so far this term, and that run without a goal was extended on Tuesday evening when his Halifax debut ended in a 1-0 defeat at home to promotion rivals Boreham Wood.

Martin started the match and played the full 90 minutes, while another Harrogate striker, Danilo Orsi, came off the bench for the visitors.