Dan Thirkell turns down Tadcaster Albion approach to remain stationed at Harrogate Railway

Dan Thirkell, right, next to new Harrogate Railway boss Lee Ashforth
Dan Thirkell, right, next to new Harrogate Railway boss Lee Ashforth

Player of the season Dan Thirkell has turned down temptations to leave Station View and committed his future to Harrogate Railway.

The utility player had one of his best seasons i n a red and green shirt as Railway earned a record points haul in Evo-Stik First Division North last season.

But, following former boss Billy Miller’s move to fellow North Yorkshire outfit Tadcaster Albion, Thirkell was understood to be considering his options for next season.

Miller asked him to switch his allegiance to Tad, but the defender has opted to stay for an 11th season at the Starbeck outfit.

New manager Lee Ashforth said Thirkell’s decision had boosted his pre-season plans.

“It was really important that I managed to keep hold of him,” he said.

“Dan’s a local lad and very integral to the club. If we had have lost him, it would have been a massive dent into the side.

“The player would have seen it was a kick in the teeth. A lot of them have asked me to see what he was doing. With him staying, it’s a step in the right direction.”

However, as expected, right-back Jordan Armstrong and winger Adam Baker have left the club to join Miller at Tad, alongside former Leeds United defender Matt Heath.

Meanwhile, Ashforth has confirmed Railway defender Simon Wood will become his assistant, with reserve team boss Steve Grimes handed a head of development role.

Grimes is a coach at Brian Deane’s International Academy for Football and Education (IAFE) which successfully linked with Railway last season.

He will continue his role as reserve team manager while assisting Ashforth.

Ashforth added: “I wanted to get two people that are already around the club. With the faces that have been going, I didn’t want to start bringing in a load of new faces, so we could keep a stability around the place.

“Simon is very level headed and will be a great right-hand man. Steve will help us increase the link between the reserve team and do all the training in pre-season and mid-week.”

Ashforth has been given a “slightly bigger” budget to work with this season, following the sale of Nathan Cartman to Darlington 1883 in January.

However, he was under no illusions at the task in hand to rebuild the squad.

Ashforth added: “The budget is slightly better than last year bit it’s still not massive.

“It’s still going to be relatively small compared to other teams in the league, but that doesn’t matter that much.

“It’s about raising the atmosphere and showing players that we can progress their careers. It would be great if we could get another Nathan Cartman, Malachi Farquharson or Robbie Youhill to take to the next stage.”

The new boss has set up an open trial day at Station View next Thursday (6.30pm), with potential players told to contact the club for a chance to show off their skills.

Ashforth has already contacted a number of players that will train under his guidance during pre-season.

In his first days in the job, he has also spent time re-establishing the link with Harrogate Town boss Simon Weaver, which took a hit when Nathan Cartman turned down a move to the CNG Stadium and agreed to join Darlington 1883.