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Central defender Alex Whitmore, surprisingly released by Grimsby Town at the end of the 2018/19 season, has now signed a deal with AFC Fylde who will be looking to gain promotion to the Football League for the first time.

They were beaten in last season’s play-offs, losing 3-0 in the final against Salford at Wembley before returning to the national stadium eight days later to win the FA Trophy final 1-0 against already promoted Leyton Orient.

1718 burnley alex whitmore 00 500x500In Whitmore, they’ve signed a young central defender who has already accrued a lot of experience at senior non-league level as well as in the Football League having now topped three figures in league appearances at National League level and above.

He signed for Burnley as a scholar in 2012 and spent six years with the club during which he went out on loan with National League clubs Chester and Gateshead before stepping up into the Football League with Morecambe and then Bury, the latter in League One.

On his return from Gigg Lane in January 2018, he left Burnley permanently to join Chesterfield’s relegation battle in League Two. It was a battle they lost but Whitmore turned in some excellent performances, none more so than in their televised win against promotion chasing Notts County, a game that saw Zavon Hines score his final league goal.

Although Chesterfield dropped out of the league, Whitmore’s performances caught the eye of his former Burnley under-23 coach Michael Jolley who took him to Grimsby on a one year deal. He won wholesome praise for his defensive performances during last season when he played in 31 of their League Two games, so it was something of a surprise move when Jolley opted not to retain him at the end of the season.

That’s led to his move this weekend to AFC Fylde and a delighted Whitmore said: “Off the back of AFC Fylde’s last season, the intention will be to do one more this season and get promoted.”

He added: “Where I take real pride is the clean sheets, and doing the horrible nitty-gritty side of it that sometimes doesn’t get seen.”

He’ll join former Burnley team mate Arlen Birch at Fylde whose manager Dave Challinor said of his new defensive recruit: “His experience is a massive plus, having played at our level on loan spells, but for someone of his age to have the experience he does in the Football League is brilliant.

“He fits in perfectly to what we do and how we want to play. Last year we went to a three at the back, and on occasions, we may do that next season, and Alex’s arrival gives us great flexibility.”

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