Doncaster Rovers have announced the signing of midfielder Owen Bailey from Gateshead on a two-year deal, as per the club’s official website.
Bailey has spent the last two seasons with Gateshead, making 78 appearances during his time with the Tynesiders. Those two seasons saw the midfielder play an integral part in Gateshead’s promotion to the National League in his first year, before helping the side preserve their National League status as well as reaching the FA Trophy final in his second season.
The 24-year-old is Grant McCann’s seventh signing of the transfer window, one in which he is prioritising permanent deals over loan options. Doncaster are looking to bounce back from a disappointing first season back in League Two, where they finished an underwhelming 18th place. McCann returned after the end of the season, following Danny Schofield’s departure, and will be looking to galvanise the players in what will be his second spell with the club.
Who is Owen Bailey?
Originally part of the academy at Newcastle United, Bailey would never make a senior appearance for the Toon but racked up 57 appearances for their under-23s. Gateshead snapped him up following his release from Newcastle in 2021, and the midfielder has been highly impressive during his time at the Gateshead International Stadium. During his two-year spell, Bailey would score 10 goals, which is impressive given his position. For the majority, he played as a holding midfielder, but was often deployed in the back-line, something which Grant McCann may utilise at Doncaster.
What does he bring?
Bailey will bring versatility to Donny, and he can be just effective playing as a centre-half as he is in his usual holding midfielder position. His ability to break up play is one of his strongest assets, and that ability as well as his aggressiveness and tenacity was on show throughout his two-year spell at Gateshead. Although this is a step-up for the 24-year-old, he should be able to take it in his stride and challenge for a starting position.
What’s been said?
When signing for Doncaster, Bailey said:
“It’s something that I’ve been pushing for and really wanted so I’m delighted to be here and get it sorted.
“I came here two years ago on trial and got a really good feel for the place. It’s a big club – you look at the stadium and the training ground and you can see that. It’s perfect for my development.
“When the manager rang me, I just wanted to get it done. Everything he said was the same about how I feel about football and he spoke about promotion. It was a no-brainer for me.”
Speaking about his new signing, manager Grant McCann said:
“Owen is a lad that’s had a tremendous couple of years after leaving Newcastle.
“He’s a good player with a really good background. What he’ll bring is sheer tenacity to midfield – a defensive midfield player, aggressive, on the front foot and flexible in how he plays. He will compete in that position.”
This is a step up for Bailey, but it’s hard to say that it is not a deserved move. He should be looking to challenge for a starting spot at Doncaster, and with a good pre-season we may see his name on the team sheet come the start of the season. McCann has been incredibly active throughout the off-season so far, and it will be no surprise to see Rovers in contention for promotion next year.