Harrogate Town striker Luke Armstrong is expected to return to training this week, having previously made himself unavailable for the Sulphurites’ opening League Two fixture, reports the Harrogate Advertiser.
The 27-year-old forward refused to play for the North Yorkshire side in their victory over Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, amid a number of transfer offers from other clubs.
There has been huge speculation in recent weeks over the future of the wantaway striker, who has become the subject of interest from a number of League One and League Two clubs, as well as those in Scotland.
Bids for the forward were knocked back by Simon Weaver’s side, who will only consider his departure from Wetherby Road for a “significant fee,” but so far they have received no improved offers.
Armstrong was once again absent from the squad in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup win over Carlisle United, having previously said he wasn’t in the right mindset to perform at his best ahead of the start of the 2023/24 season.
Harrogate’s talisman signed in the summer of 2021, joining for an undisclosed fee from fellow fourth-tier outfit Salford City.
He ended the season as the club’s leading goal scorer after netting 14 times in his inaugural season at The EnviroVent Stadium, before enjoying an even more impressive period last term, firing home on 16 occasions to help the club to a 19th place finish.
With two years left on his current deal, the League Two side are reluctant to part ways with the Durham-born forward, with his 45-year-old manager confirming that he has been offered a renewed three-year deal.
The Suphurites chief remains hopeful that the former Middlesbrough man will have a change of heart, but the move will be sanctioned if a suitable replacement can be found.
What’s been said?
Providing an update on the situation, Simon Weaver said: “We are no further forward, really. There are still interested parties, but I’ve heard nothing today from anyone.
“At the minute, the offers that have come in have not met our valuation – and obviously we value him highly.
“As far as I’m aware, he will be training with the rest of the group on Thursday, which would be great, it will be good to see him.
“He did come in to train [on Tuesday] with the rest of the group of players who weren’t involved against Carlisle, and trained very well by all accounts, so that was good to hear.”
Harrogate have coped well in Armstrong’s absence, recording back-to-back 1-0 victories in their opening two fixtures of the new campaign. But in the long term, the future of the 27-year-old could well determine whether we’re talking about Harrogate as a Football League side this time next year.
The last thing Simon Weaver will want is this saga running all the way up until deadline day, but the club are remaining firm in their stance over the valuation of the forward and don’t appear to be caving under the pressure of their talisman refusing to play.