Last week saw Wrexham AFC confirm the signing of former Premier League player Anthony Forde on a two-year deal from Oxford United.
Forde has amassed over 300 league appearances at the age of 28, with a clean record of zero red cards and only 14 yellow cards.
As a notably versatile player, Forde can play anywhere in the midfield and even at wing-back, which will be a prized asset for Phil Parkinson’s favoured three at the back system.
Over 4,000 fans bared witness to his capabilities in a 4-0 victory over Macclesfield FC, particularly his pace down the wing and precise crosses. He was keen to note his desire to provide assists for the Reds this season.
The Irishman isn’t shy of chipping in with goals either, having scored 21 goals across his career, a career which began at the Wolverhampton Wanderers academy. As a teenager, gaining six appearances in the Premier League, followed by eleven in the Championship was extremely valuable in his progression.
Amounting only a few appearances for Wolves in League One in the 2013/14 season would see Forde take a brief loan spell to Scunthorpe at the end of the campaign.
A short journey east in the Black Country saw Anthony earn a place in Walsall’s side for the 2014/15 season. As a youthful prospect, he accumulated 88 appearances for the Saddlers scoring 10 times across two seasons; the most prolific goalscoring tenure of his career.
His successes were not missed and Rotherham would snap up the Irishman in 2016 to join their Championship side.
Forde would yo-yo with Rotherham, being relegated back to League One and then achieving automatic promotion back into the Championship in 2018. Anthony was a mainstay for the Millers making 114 appearances in the Championship, League One, FA Cup, League Cup and EFL Trophy.
A transfer to Oxford United would be where the Irishman would spend his previous three years. Although all three seasons were in League One, Forde and United would push for promotion every season.
In the COVID-affected 2019/20 season, Oxford would make the League One Play-off Final. The following season would see the U’s fall one step shorter, losing out to Blackpool in the Semi-Final of the Play-Offs. Last season would follow suit, with Oxford narrowly missing out on the Play-Offs, finishing eighth.
The capability of Forde to play in multiple positions will be precious to Phil Parkinson in his bid to secure promotion to the EFL, as he recognises the strength of this signing.