Stevenage Secure Premier League Double

Stevenage FC have announced the signing of left-back Reece Hannam and on a free transfer as well as the season-long loan of Sheffield United midfielder Harrison Neal, according to the club’s official website.

Boro claim left-back

Former Crystal Palace left-back, Hannam, has been training with the Boro during the summer and featured in a number of pre-season games and joins after being released by the South London Premier League side in the summer where he played for the past four seasons, scooping the club’s U23s Player of the Season award in 2021. Prior to that he was at West Ham United from age 6 to 18.

Boro boss Evans commented on the Hannam signing, “We are delighted to have signed Reece. The kid came in for pre-season and has given it everything in the last six weeks. He has earned his contract and gets a wonderful opportunity to progress his career after a good period at Crystal Palace”.

Neal arrival

The signing of Sheffield United midfielder Harrison Neal was announced shortly after, with manager Steve Evans stating to the club’s official website:

“Harrison is a player who I tracked last season. I asked the question about taking the kid on loan way over a month ago, but Paul Heckingbottom wanted to keep him around and asked me to be patient. That patience got me the opportunity to speak to the lad over the weekend. He wanted to join us in preference to others and that meant a lot to me. Our supporters most likely won’t know him but they will remember him when he goes back to Sheffield United”.

The 22-year-old central midfielder spent last season on loan at Barrow in League Two, making 45 appearances for the Bluebirds and joins the Boro for the 23/24 season.

He commented on the loan move,

“As soon as I heard there was interest from Stevenage, I wanted the move to happen”, said Neal. “I’ve been impressed with the facilities, plus conversations with the Gaffer have been positive – I can’t wait to get going”.

Both signings are likely to feature in the Boro squad for this evening’s top-of-the-table clash with rivals, Cambridge United who, like Stevenage, have started the season in excellent form

Writer’s View

Both signings will bolster the Stevenage squad with a backup left back to compete with fellow new arrival, Dan Butler, one of the more obvious requirements for the Boro. Hannam looked impressive in pre-season and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Max Clark and Saxon Earley, who battled for the position last season for Stevenage before the latter’s return to Norwich City and subsequent move to Plymouth Argyle in January.

Harrison Neal should also provide added competition to the Stevenage midfield and will compete with the likes of Louis Thompson for a starting slot. Boro have been hit by injuries to Terence Vancooten – who is expected to be out until October, while Dan Sweeney had surgery over the summer which has ruled him out of the opening fixtures, meaning defensively-minded transfers were required and Neal seems like a footballer with a bright future. Stevenage have had mixed success with loan signings in recent seasons but benefitted from the arrival of the aforementioned Earley last season, as well as the likes of Alex Gilbey and Villa Park hero Dean Campbell, who performed admirably for Steve Evans’ side. The club will be hoping Neal will adjust as well as those signings and help to continue the team’s strong start to the season.

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