Cambridge United have completed a deal for former Macclesfield Town striker Joe Ironside until the end of the 2021/22 season.
Ironside, 26, arrives at the U’s to add further depth alongside Paul Mullin, Harvey Knibbs and Andrew Dallas, to the options available to Head Coach Mark Bonner for United’s frontline.
Pleased to be tied down with United for 2020/21, Ironside commented: “It’s a pleasure to be here and I can’t wait to get going.
“Having played here against Cambridge United last season, it’s a great Club with a supportive fanbase. I had positive conversations with Mark Bonner (Head Coach) and I felt immediately it was the right fit for me.
“I settled back into the Football League well last year, and although I would have liked to have scored more goals, I’m hopeful that can be the case this year. I’d like to think my physical presence and the fact I’ll always look to give 110% are my biggest strengths.
“I’m looking forward to getting amongst the boys for the start of pre-season this weekend, and preparing for a successful season.”
Beginning his career within the Sheffield United youth system, where he showed plenty of promise scoring in the FA Youth Cup Final against Manchester United in 2011, Ironside made his professional debut for the Blades on his 19th birthday before going on to make 16 first team appearances in League One for the South Yorkshire side. He gained further valuable experience via loan spells with FC Halifax Town, Harrogate Town, Alfreton Town and Hartlepool United.
He departed Bramall Lane in 2015 to join Alfreton permanently and a season later moved on to Nuneaton Town where he scored 16 goals to catch the attention of fellow National league North side Kidderminster Harriers. He scored 48 times across his three seasons at Aggborough, which eventually led to his Football League switch to Macclesfield Town at the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign.
Last season he bagged seven goals in all competitions, and featured prominently twice against the U’s, inspiring a point from behind as he appeared from the bench for the Silkmen at the Abbey and leading Macclesfield’s line to a 1-0 win at Moss Rose.
Head Coach Mark Bonner commented: “Joe is someone we have had our eye on for a while. His performances against us and throughout a tough season at Macclesfield showed a determined work ethic, and a good level of aggression and physicality. To complete the set of forwards, we have needed to add a player who can compete aerially and is strong with his back to goal. We have found these qualities in Joe.
“I really like his attitude, his attributes and his application. I also like his ambition to back up his goal scoring record at non-league level in the EFL. He is another good character to our team and will handle the demands of a busy season well.
“We have planned all along to go into the season with four strikers with first team experience. As a result, Joe joins a group of attackers including Paul Mullin, Harvey Knibbs, Andy Dallas, Ben Worman and Joe Neal who will work together, challenge each other and make each other better. There is plenty more development left in all of them.”