James Belshaw leaves Harrogate Town to join Bristol Rovers

James Belshaw has completed his switch from Harrogate Town to League Two rivals Bristol Rovers for an undisclosed fee.
James Belshaw has left Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt KirkhamJames Belshaw has left Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham
James Belshaw has left Harrogate Town. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Gas manager Joey Barton has made no secret of his desire to sign the 30-year-old goalkeeper following a successful trial, and a deal has now been agreed.

A two-time promotion winner and Simon Weaver's regular first-choice between the sticks during his four years with Town, Belshaw was stripped of the number one jersey following Mark Oxley's arrival earlier this summer and told that he was free to find another club.

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"I'm delighted to get James on board," Barton told Bristol Live.

"His career trajectory itself, continually improving through the leagues shows the kind of ambition and drive we want all players to have who represent Bristol Rovers.

"The experience James has gained through two recent promotions and having played a substantial amount of games last year in League Two will be vital for us in achieving our objectives for this season and beyond.

"He will be another excellent addition to our squad."

Belshaw made 184 appearances having joined Harrogate from Tamworth four years ago, keeping 58 clean-sheets and chipping in with no fewer than five assists.

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Speaking earlier this month about the decision to make his goalkeeper available for transfer, Sulphurites boss Weaver said: "We started chatting to Belly about the goalkeeping situation and what was going to happen this summer all the way back in May.

“We explained to him that we were looking for a goalkeeper with more EFL experience to come in and be our number one.

“There was no fall-out, there's no animosity and we didn’t say that the door was closed for James. But, he said that he didn’t want to be a number two because he’s got used to and enjoys playing regularly, and I understand where he’s coming from."

Belshaw has agreed a two-year contract with Rovers, who visit Harrogate in League Two on October 30.