Stockport County have re-signed one of our Wembley heroes, Paul Turnbull, who has returned to the Hatters after an eight-month spell at Chester.
County boss Jim Gannon said: “I’m delighted to have signed Paul as his signing is another important step in our rebuilding of the team. I’m grateful to The Board for their support in adding players at this stage of the season. There is still much to play for and it’s great to have an extra midfield option for the run-in especially in light of the issues we are having with some of our midfield players availability, fitness and form. Once fully fit and bedded into the team I believe Paul will bring both a stability and presence, with added organisation and leadership that is important in the heart of our midfield.
“The added depth in the deeper central midfield will also allow players like Jimmy Ball to be used to greater effect in other phases of play.
“It’s also a highly symbolic signing in the club’s intention to replace National League North part-timers with proven full-time players who bring additional fitness, football qualities and experience from higher level football. Whatever level we’re playing at next season, we do need to start the campaign with a strong, settled, well-knitted side. The demands within the National League at all levels require an increasing need for full-time professionalism, high levels of fitness and improving standards of players. We’ve embraced that challenge this season with the changes we have made to our training structures, whilst the players we’re retaining and recruiting for next season will accelerate that growth.”
Born in Handforth, Turnbull progressed through County’s Centre of Excellence as a striker, but successfully converted to a central midfield role.
He remains the youngest player ever to feature in a league game for the Hatters, coming off the bench against Wrexham on 30 April 2005, aged 16 years 97 days whilst still a pupil at Wilmslow High School.
After a brief loan spell with Altrincham in 2008, he returned and impressed manager Jim Gannon so much that he played a crucial role in County’s end of season Play-Off campaign, including that dramatic 3-2 win over Rochdale in the final at Wembley Stadium. By the age of 21, he was club captain.
In June 2011 he signed for Northampton but returned to Edgeley Park twice on loan during the next 18 months.
He has been one of the best competitors in the National League for a number of seasons, having joined Macclesfield Town in July 2013, where he was named captain, scoring 11 goals in 94 appearances before signing for Barrow three years later.
He joined Chester last summer on a two-year deal, but off-field financial issues have seen the squad decimated and the crisis club are currently in the bottom three of the National League.
Paul, 29, who has made more than 170 appearances for County, goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s home clash with Brackley.