'Not easy' - Ex-Man United and Preston man reflects on free agent period as survival mission starts

Josh Harrop speaks to Cheltenham Town in-house media Josh Harrop speaks to Cheltenham Town in-house media
Josh Harrop speaks to Cheltenham Town in-house media | Cheltenham Town FC
The ex-PNE, Manchester United and Ipswich Town man has signed for Cheltenham Town

Former Preston North End midfielder Josh Harrop admitted his period as a free agent was a 'difficult' one, after signing for Cheltenham Town.

Following a successful trial period with the Robins, for a fortnight, ex-Manchester United man Harrop earned himself a contract until the end of the season. Manager Darrell Clarke made the 28-year-old his first signing of the January transfer window.

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Harrop, who made 95 appearances for Preston after signing from United in the summer of 2017, had his contract terminated at Deepdale in September 2022. He then joined Northampton Town, but was let go by the promoted side after the season. Harrop is now hoping to catch a break.

"It's a difficult period, you know?" he said. "I have played football since I was six-years-old and it gets taken away for a little bit of time. So, it is not easy, but you have just got to stay motivated and keep training, so that when your opportunity comes you are ready to go. I feel like I've done that well and that I am fit, ready and can't wait to get playing."

Harrop added: "I've been at Preston, been on loan a few times, been at Northampton. So, I have played in different leagues and I feel like I am ready to go now. And I feel like, in myself, I am at a stage where I can't wait to get playing and I'm eager to go. I think, not playing for the months I haven't, it makes you a bit more hungry and my body is ready now.

"I am just eager to get on the pitch again, show what I am about and do the most I can for this club. I have trained here now for two weeks and seen the level. It is a good level of training; the lads are all at it every day. It's high intensity and that is something I wanted to come into - where everyone is buying into what the manager is doing. I feel like that's what they've got here. I am here to give my most for the club, everything I can and hopefully I can contribute to keeping the club in the league."

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