Stephen Dooley will help Harrogate Town keep the ball better following arrival from Rochdale AFC

Stephen Dooley has been brought in from League Two rivals Rochdale to help Harrogate Town become more effective in possession of the ball.

By Rhys Howell
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 5:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 9:44 am
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver, left, with new signing Stephen Dooley. Pictures: Harrogate Town AFC
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver, left, with new signing Stephen Dooley. Pictures: Harrogate Town AFC

The 30-year-old, who can operate both centrally or out on the wing, turned down the offer of a new contract at Spotland to join the Sulphurites on a two-year deal.

"We’ve watched a lot of coverage of Stephen," Town boss Simon Weaver said.

"We noticed him actually in the first game of last season when he played a part in both Rochdale’s goals against us, he’s extremely calm and composed on the ball.

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Stephen Dooley became Harrogate Town's third new signing of the summer when he joined the club on Tuesday.

“As well as wanting to add physicality this summer we also wanted to add composure. Last year we were up there with the best in terms of counter-attacking goals, but wanting to be a possession-based team we just weren’t calm enough at times and Stephen can show that class and ability to add that to the team."

Dooley's career began in 2010 with Northern Irish side Coleraine before he moved to America to play for Loyola Greyhounds. He then returned to Coleraine in 2013 before signing for Derry (2014) and then Cork City in 2016.

A third spell with Coleraine came in 2017 and he then joined Rochdale in May 2018.

Dooley would go on to make over 100 appearances for the Spotland outfit, featuring as a versatile midfielder.

The Northern Irishman also represented his country at u17 and u19 level and says he was drawn to Harrogate after discovering his new manager's vision for the club.

“Speaking with Simon Weaver I heard the vision for the club and it sounded like an exciting time, so I’m really looking forward to getting going," Dooley said.

“It was a tough decision to leave Rochdale, I loved my time there, everyone at the club was brilliant to me, but now I want to crack on at Harrogate.

“I played here on the opening day of the season and remember the atmosphere was good, even if it turned out to be a tough one for us.

“In both games against Harrogate there was plenty of action, plenty of goals, lots of free flowing football, they were really fun games to be a part of.”

Dooley will wear the number 22 shirt at Wetherby Road.