Parker pens Town deal with promotion in mind

Harrogate Town have confirmed the signing of former Leeds United defender Ben Parker.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 1:23 pm
Ben Parker.

Parker was released by National Premier outfit Guiseley at the end of last season and joins former team-mates Danny Ellis and Simon Ainge in Town’s back four.

North Ferriby United winger Wayne Brooksby and Grimsby Town frontman John Paul Pittman have also arrived at Town over the last seven days.

All three new signings have won promotion over the last two years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And Parker said an ambition to move the club into the National League Premier was firmly behind his decision to step down a level and join Harrogate.

Parker said: “I’ve followed the club closely especially over the last couple of seasons and I’m excited about what lies ahead.

“My hope and expectation is to get promoted, and I think we have the perfect platform to do it.

“What the club is doing here, with the ground, the pitch and the squad I think it gives us a really good chance. It’s up to us as players to make that dream of promotion a reality.”

The 28-year-old left-back, who was capped at England youth level, captained Guiseley to victory in the Conference North play-offs in 2015.

Prior to joining Guiseley, he made 41 appearances in a seven-year stint at Leeds where he also enjoyed loan spells at Bradford City, Darlington and Carlisle United.

Weaver said: “He is a player that I’ve liked for some time and is someone who will add ability and experience to our squad. As a character, Ben is another leader, and will play a huge part in the squad both on and off the field.”

Parker’s arrival will soften the blow of losing fans’ favourite and 2015/16 player of the season Brendon Daniels. Daniels agreed a three-year contract at play-off conquerors AFC Fylde late last week in a deal which will see the winger become one of the highest earners in National League North.

The winger was a lynch pin in Town’s record high league finish last season and scored 22 goals from the wing to earn the player of the season award.

Fylde had approached Town for Daniels’ services early in the 2015/16 campaign but Simon Weaver was able to nail his chief tormentor down to an improved contract to stay at the CNG Stadium.

Town offered Daniels a “competitive” contract to remain in Harrogate next season but the winger was swayed by the lure of a three-year deal at full-time Fylde, who inflicted a 2-1 defeat on Town in the play-off semi-finals last month.

Fylde went on to lose the play-off final against North Ferriby United and will start the 2016/17 campaign as heavy favourites for the title.

On Daniels’ departure, Weaver said: “Brendon scored some fantastic goals for us and made a huge contribution to the side last season.

“We presented him a very competitive offer to stay but the player decided to move on.”