The latest recruit to our ranks at the Racecourse is an experienced player who has enjoyed a change of outlook in his career, switching from stopping goals to being right at the heart of scoring them.
Simon Ainge joined Vanarama National League table toppers Harrogate Town from Yorkshire rivals Bradford Park Avenue in the summer of 2016 and made a big impact at The CNG Stadium.
Ainge was placed straight into the heart of Town’s defence and captained the side on multiple occasions, though it was his switch further up the pitch towards the end of 2016 that really caught the eye.
Better known as a centre-half, the former England C man was thrown into the forward line when boss Simon Weaver had an injury crisis. They didn’t look back with Ainge boasting a remarkable 33 goals in the calendar year of 2017.
It’s an even better ratio when you consider he spent over three months out with a groin injury!
The former Bradford City man was even named the league’s Player of the Month in February 2017, before committing his future to the club when signing a two-year deal last May.
Brought through the ranks at Bradford City, where he went onto play 18 times before moving across the city to sign for Park Avenue in 2009 and then onto NPL rivals Guiseley. Helping the Lions to promotion and establishing them in the Conference North during his three-year stay.
These performances and appearances for England C against both Russia U23s and Belgium U23s, must have impressed Luton Town, who signed him initially on loan in late 2012 and then full time in the following January.
A change of manager at Kenilworth Road saw him leave for fellow Conference Premier side FC Halifax Town in the summer of 2013 and 18 months with the Shaymen. The he returned to Bradford PA in January 2015, bu then a Conference North club.
A further move to Harrogate Town 18 months ago, along with his switch to a striking role, has seen the 30-year-old Yorkshireman fire in 35 goals during 52 games.
Back after several months out injured, he has found regaining his place difficult as Harrogate battle with Salford City for top spot in the North division and players like former Red Mark Beck in good form.
So, he has taken the opportunity to join Wrexham on loan for the rest of the season.
“There were one or two possibilities during the last month or so, but when Wrexham came in this was just the sort of opportunity that was looking for,” said Simon.