FA Cup hero Chib Chilaka rejoins Harrogate Town - Weaver admits guilt over releasing the striker in 2013

Chib Chilaka signs his contract at Harrogate Town alongside Simon Weaver (Photo: Caught Light Photography)
Chib Chilaka signs his contract at Harrogate Town alongside Simon Weaver (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Chib Chilaka has made a return to Harrogate Town and boss Simon Weaver admitted he regrets letting him leave in the first place.

The fans favourite was released by Weaver at the end of the 2012/13 campaign, despite firing the Wetherby Road club into the FA Cup second round.

Chib Chilaka scored 18 goals in his last spell at Harrogate Town (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Chib Chilaka scored 18 goals in his last spell at Harrogate Town (Photo: Caught Light Photography)

Chilaka has since cut his cloth at Bradford Park Avenue and scored 16 goals for the West Yorkshire side last term including a goal against his new club.

Weaver unveiled his seventh summer recruit on Wednesday and challenged him to match last season’s scoring feat.

The gaffer said: “Having his big smile around will hopefully be a popular decision wit the fans. He’s hungry and great to work with and looking back, we have missed him.

“I have said to him a few times since that we made the wrong decision. Sometime you have to hold your hands up.

“I have missed his character and his performance. But that’s all gone and I can’t change that. All I can do is encourage him now.

“He has seen beyond that and has knows he enjoys the set up and the vision of the club here. I definitely think he has developed as a player, too, and he has had to.

“On a difficult pitch at Bradford he has dug in and that’s testament to his character.”

During his previous spell at the CNG Stadium, Chilaka bagged 18 goals in 47 appearances and helped Town finish sixth in the 2012/13 campaign.

However, he will be remembered most for scoring the winning goal in the memorable FA Cup first round win over Torquay United, securing a second round home tie against Hastings United.

“He is popular in the changing room and popular in the stands and we have missed that edge that he brings to the squad,” added Weaver.

“He is a big, powerful lad with a great turn of speed and he offers us something unique and different in the squad.

“What he has proven over the last few years is that he will play come rain or shine. He is focused on scoring goals and putting a shift in for the team.

“I think he will be looking for at least 15 goals. I haven’t had that conversation but he will be wanting to get to 15 as soon as possible. That’s not being too extreme with my amounts.”

Chilaka’s former Bradford teammate Paul Beesley has told Weaver he wants to stay at Town and fight for a place at the club in pre-season.

However, Andy McWilliams has been released. The former York City left-back spent time on loan at Whitby Town last season but returned to face AFC Fylde in the play-off second leg.