Callum Ainley will offer greater depth across Grimsby Town’s forward line, after signing as a free agent on a one-year deal.
The 25-year-old was an unused substitute in the Mariners’ 1-1 draw away at Bradford City on Saturday afternoon, joining the club after departing Crewe Alexandra this summer, where he had played his whole career up until this point.
Ainley made 278 appearances for the Railwaymen after coming through their academy system, making his professional debut for the club in the 15/16 season and featuring regularly for them over the next eight years.
He was used a lot as a central midfielder during his time at Crewe, but that is not where Paul Hurst will need him to play at Town. His team is light on wide options at present due to injuries.
Ainley has the experience at this level to fit in quickly and that was a big reason for the club to add him to their ranks. Hurst explained: “We’ve signed Callum to add to our attacking options. He’s got a wealth of experience at League One and League Two level with Crewe having come through and spent his career there up until now.
“He can play in the wide areas or as a number ten and he’s very technically gifted. He’s someone who will add to our options and I think that was important after losing Charles Vernam until the new year.
“We’ve been light with the injuries – hopefully they will be back soon – but we need to give ourselves options and Callum certainly does that with him having a good pedigree in our league and the one above.”
The new man will likely need some time to get to the right fitness levels having been a free agent this summer and therefore not had a proper pre-season with a club, but Town were in need of a backup option for the short term at least and Ainley can be that.
Ainley said: “The gaffer brought me in and I was really impressed with him, with training and the way he sets up. The fanbase, as well, played a part. It’s a massive fan base and that obviously is big for a player.
“It’s a really good group of lads and everyone has been welcoming. They’re all big characters but I get on with them all and the training intensity has been great.”
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/