Mark Yates made his first signing today when he bought in former Northern Ireland youth player Jonny Harkness from Walsall for an initial one month loan with the possibility of being extended for a further period if he meets our criteria. A few hours later came the half expected, and at the same time surprising, news that comparatively long serving defender Wayne Hatswell was about to join the side currently in the relegation places in League Two, our old friends Rushden & Diamonds.
Let's do the Hatswell story first.
Wayne first came to Aggborough in October 2003 from the then non-league Chester City in a deal thought to be worth about £8,000. He originally joined as a central defender but found himself utilised more and more at left back where, to be honest, he was never at his best.
Within weeks of originally arriving at Aggborough our then manager Jan Molby made him the club captain. He made such an impact there that it was no surprise when he won the Player of the Year award at the end of his first season.
Following that award he was rewarded with a 3 year contract but then in the year that we got relegated he had a very poor season by his standards and was put on the transfer list but there were no real takers and he forced himself back into contention but still mainly in the left back slot because we already have a decent choice of central defenders any way. Now with our relegation and the worsening financial situation the club have agreed to sell him to Rushden for an un-disclosed fee and he will stay at Nene Park until the end of the season when a contract will or will not be offered.
In the three years that he has been here he has gained many admirers, and at the same time quite a few detractors, but the fact that he is amongst the highest paid at the club does not sit well with a board that does not equate quality with success and wants the cheapest option possible.
Harriers Online, and Wayne's fans, will be wishing him well and hopefully we'll be playing against him next season when Rushden end up back where they belong.
The lad that has come in today is a twenty year old left sided defender - now there's a coincidence - and will be stepping into the place vacated by Wayne.
Jonny had made just the two appearances for Walsall including one as recently as the start of this year when he played in he 3-0 defeat at Bristol City but was sent out on loan to fellow Conference side Cambridge Utd at the start of this season when he played for them in our 2-0 victory there in August when another Walsall loanee, Taiwo Atieno, scored for us.
Mark Yates told the Official Website earlier today;
"Jonny has been training with us for the past week and this deal just allows both parties some more time to take a close a look at one another. The lad has got a quality left foot and he's certainly a welcome addition to our squad.
He'll stay with us initially for just a month and we'll take things from there."
Jonny is expected to make his debut for us in the side that will be facing Scarborough at Aggborough on Saturday.