Harrogate Town have today signed defender Rod McDonald from fellow League Two side Crewe Alexandra on a two-year deal, as confirmed by their official website.
McDonald was ever-present in the Alex’s back line in what was a stellar season for the 31-year-old. The defender made 36 appearances across all competitions, scoring twice and was also named the club’s Player of the Year. Having only just arrived at Crewe from Carlisle the season prior, McDonald is yet again on the move.
The addition of McDonald will greatly boost the Harrogate defence, who conceded 68 goals throughout the 2022/23 season. This gave them the fourth worst defensive record in the league, and although they scored the ninth most goals last season, their defence let them down, leading to a 19th place finish. This suggests that the defence is where the problems lie at Harrogate and McDonald may be just one of many names through the doors at Wetherby Road.
The 31-year-old brings plenty of experience with him, having made a combined 198 appearances in League One and Two. His experience will come in handy with Harrogate, who although have one of the older average ages in the league, do not have much experience in the Football League.
Who is Rod McDonald?
Originally in the Manchester City academy, McDonald would move to Stoke before then joining Oldham Athletic. The defender would make just one competitive appearance for Oldham before departing to try and get regular minutes in the lower leagues. Having played for Colwyn Bay, Nantwich Town, Hereford and Telford, McDonald’s talents were finally spotted by Northampton, who he won the League Two title with 2016.
McDonald would then gain promotion with Coventry before moving to AFC Wimbledon, Carlisle and Crewe Alexandra, where he would gain even more experience in the Football League. A real leader from the back, McDonald plays an integral part in the dressing room, his knowledge and experience will be essential if Harrogate want to begin to progress as a League Two side.
What’s been said?
When speaking about the arrival of the defender, assistant manager Paul Thirlwell said:
“I think every team needs to have the right blend, everybody wants that youth and exuberance in the squad, but you also need those older heads for when you go to the bigger grounds and the noise is there, that’s when you need your leaders and your organisers on the pitch.
“We’re really pleased to have signed Rod, he’s another player we’ve liked for a few years, he had an exceptional season last season and we’re really looking forward to having him here with us.
“We’ve been looking to identify strong, powerful players and good characters and Rod certainly comes into that bracket with his performances last season. He’s very dominant, very aggressive and he can play as well, so he’s a player we feel will fit in really well to the squad.”
This is a great signing by Harrogate, and already their fourth of the summer, they’re showing that they mean business. McDonald is a great addition into a side which struggles defensively, and he should have the desired effect when lining up next season. Harrogate have always been in the bottom half of the table ever since they joined the EFL, but this could change with the signings that they’ve made so far.