Harry Clifton leaves Grimsby Town to join League Two rivals Doncaster Rovers

Grimsby Town midfielder Harry Clifton with his Player Of The Year awards at the end of the 2022/23 season
-Credit: (Image: Jon Corken)

Academy product Harry Clifton has joined Doncaster Rovers, turning down a new contract with Grimsby Town to sign with on of their League Two rivals.

Born and raised in Grimsby, Clifton joined the Mariners as an under-10 and rose through the youth ranks at the club, signing his first professional contract with the club in July 2015 before going on to make his full debut two years later against Doncaster in the EFL Trophy.

Close to 270 professional appearances later, the 25-year-old has decided to move on, joining Rovers on a two-year deal with the option for a further year included.

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“I’m really pleased to get this finalised and meet people around the club,” Clifton said on the official release. “I can’t wait to get going. I had good conversations with the gaffer and it’s got me really excited for next season.”

Doncaster boss Grant McCann added: “I’m delighted to get Harry. He’s a player we’ve always liked. He plays with energy and bite and he’s a really good footballer also who can arrive late and score goals. He can play in all three positions in our midfield.

“Most of all, he’s a really good character who will fit right in to our changing room. At 25 he’s at a great age to kick on and be a part of what we’re trying to do.”

The Grimsby-born midfielder has been a crucial part of the Mariners set-up for over half of a decade since first breaking through at the club, making 40 or more league appearances for Town in the last three seasons.

Those years have included a promotion from the National League as well as a historic run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, with Clifton’s name written into the history books of the club for the instrumental role he played in those successes.

There were tough moments too, last season included in that, with Clifton unable to replicate the same level of performances seen in the two years before, but he was always commended for his versatility and his stellar fitness record which has seen him very rarely be unavailable for selection.

Grimsby have lost a valuable squad asset in Clifton and one they wanted to keep onto having offered him a new deal, with part of the response now being to find the next academy talent will step up to become a first-team regular as the former had done.