Will Smith still very much part of Simon Weaver's plans at Harrogate Town

Will Smith remains very much a part of Simon Weaver's plans at Harrogate Town.

By Rhys Howell
Monday, 14th February 2022, 6:33 pm
Harrogate Town defender Will Smith in action against Bristol Rovers. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Harrogate Town defender Will Smith in action against Bristol Rovers. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The 23-year-old centre-half was one of the first names on the Sulphurites' team-sheet during his first two seasons at Wetherby Road, but appears to have fallen down the pecking order this term, making just 10 appearances in all competitions.

Surgery on a double-hernia suffered in early November accounted for him missing a couple of months of the campaign, however he has played just 37 minutes as a substitute since returning to fitness last month.

Weaver has however moved to allay the fears of some supporters that the former Barnsley defender is being frozen out, and confirmed that Smith is one of a number of players in contention for a recall when Harrogate visit Exeter City this Tuesday.

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Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver.

"We've been searching for that really solid formula at the back and obviously Will was out injured, then after he returned to fitness we kept a few clean-sheets, so he's missed out," the Town chief told the Harrogate Advertiser.

"Obviously we haven't managed to do that in the last couple of games. We have conceded six goals in two matches, so of course that opens the door up for change.

"Will has been really unfortunate with injuries and that hasn't helped him. He suffered quite a serious one last season and he's picked up another one more recently.

"They've set him back and kept him out of the side for periods of time and there have also been occasions where I've picked other players in his position.

"There isn't any more to it than that. He is still a young defender with relatively little Football League experience and, like everybody else, he has found himself learning some lessons this season at a new level."

Weaver went on to reveal that he has spoken to Smith regarding his lack of game-time in recent weeks and has been pleased by the player's reaction to that chat.

"I had a very frank conversation with Will recently and his response was spot on," the Town boss added.

"He's been really positive in terms of his attitude, really upbeat and he always trains well with a smile on his face.

"There are going to be peaks and troughs in any player's career, but I know Will has the character to come through.

"I remember being heavily criticised for selling Callum Howe a few years ago and playing Will in his place and I was delighted to see him do so well and prove all the doubters wrong.

"He's a player who we think an awful lot of."