Harrogate Town v Swindon Town: Joe Mattock welcomes lead role as aims to make good first impression

Former England Under-21 international Joe Mattock says that assuming the role of a senior pro in Harrogate Town’s dressing room is something that he will embrace following his move to Wetherby Road.

The vastly-experienced 32-year-old defender joined the League Two Sulphurites having helped Rotherham United achieve promotion to the Championship last term.

And, having amassed almost 400 league appearances in the second and third tiers of English football during a professional career spanning 15 years, there can’t have been too many better-qualified options out there this summer as far as shoring up a back-line that was the joint-second-leakiest in the division last season is concerned.

“Coming in as a senior player, it’s always your responsibility to look out for the younger lads and pass on the experiences that I’ve had and what I’ve done,” Mattock said.

Joe Mattock - seen in action for Rotherham United last season - is looking forward to making his debut for Harrogate Town. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“It’s my time to take a lead role, especially in the back-line and push the team forwards. Hopefully, what I can give can make an improvement on this side, but we will have to wait and see.”

Mattock has never played lower than League One previously, but insists that he is not fazed by the prospect of dropping down to the fourth tier.

“There’s not much difference between League One and League Two,” he added. “At the end of the day it’s a game of football and all the lads who I’m playing with are professional footballers.

“They are where they are for a reason and, from what I’ve seen so far, there is some serious talent in this side and I really do think we can do well this year.”

Mattock is in line to make his Town debut when the Sulphurites kick-off their League Two campaign at home to Swindon.

Nine of Mattock’s fellow summer signings are also hoping to play their first competitive match for Harrogate this weekend.

Winger Max Wright is the only one of Simon Weaver’s new recruits to miss out, having damaged an ankle during last week’s pre-season draw with Barnsley.

That injury, far more serious than initially expected, means he joins Josh Falkingham, Rory McArdle and Will Smith on the sidelines.