Pic: Mike Petch
HARROGATE TOWN manager Simon Weaver has backed Peter Crook to land a dream professional move – whatever the outcome of his trial at Premier League new boys Burnley.
The England C keeper has been training with the Clarets and played in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday. Swansea and Leeds United are rumoured to have been keeping tabs on the stopper.
National League side York City are also thought to be interested in the 22-year-old, whose 19 clean sheets last season saw him named in the National League North team of the year.
Crook also won international honours in Non-League’s international set-up, coming on as a sub during the 2-0 win against Ukraine in Kiev.
Weaver has always felt his No.1 has the tools to make the step up into the Football League. And while they won’t stand in the way of any move – which will require a fee after he signed a new one-year deal in May – the boss says the National League North club want it settled soon so they know if they need a replacement.
“He’s attracting interest and clubs have been sniffing around,” Weaver told The NLP. “He’s been up at Burnley and played a game behind-closed-doors on Saturday.
“We want a quick decision because we need to know where we are. We’ve said all along, we’re not going to block any youngster’s path.
“We lost Rob Worrall to Nottingham Forest two weeks ago. If Peter goes, he goes with our best wishes.
“He’s good enough. We’ve been saying it for a while and scouts have been watching. There were between 40 and 50 scouts for the play-off semi-final against Fylde, so there was nearly half the Football League there watching him. That’s understandable because he’s a good lad.
“If he gets a move it’s a feather in our cap. But as managers at this level, if you are producing players, you get judged on how you replace them. We’ve got to have our fingers on the pulse and we’re working hard on that.”
After missing out in last season’s National League North play-offs in the semi-finals against AFC Fylde, hopes are high for another promotion tilt.
That will be on their new 3G surface which was signed off on Friday, and Weaver is looking forward to the benefits of an artificial pitch.
“It looks fantastic and very inviting to go and play football on – especially when you think of the winters we’ve had,” he said.
“Yes, it all looks nice looking out on grass in the close season. But, in reality, you’ve got six or seven months of playing on dirt down the middle of the park when the grass disappears.
“It becomes a different level of football, your typical pitch you see in the FA Cup! So now we’re very proud to have a pitch like this. Just looking out on it now, it’s raining, and you think, ‘Good, it should be even better’.”