Leyton Orient have announced the signing of Motherwell midfielder Craig Clay on a two-year contract. The 25-year-old has made the move back to English football on a free transfer after a season with the Steelmen.
Born: Nottingham, England
Height: 1.80 m (6 ft )
Career Apps: 193
Craig started his football career with Chesterfield, progressing through the youth team. He was a key part of the young Spireites side that won their youth league in 2008/09 he was named as Chesterfield’s young player of the year. After being an unused substitute with the first team during the 2009/10 season, he eventually made his senior debut for the club in September 2010. In just his second senior appearance, he scored a late equaliser to help Chesterfield to secure a point in a 5-5 draw against Crewe.
In October, Clay was loaned out to Conference side Barrow on a one-month loan deal, His only appearance for the Bluebirds was in a 5-0 against Rushden.
In 2011/12 Craig made eight appearances for Chesterfield. He spent part of the campaign on loan at Conference side Alfreton Town. After scoring on his debut, Clay made three more appearances for the club.
In 2012/13, Clay featured regularly for Chesterfield in League Two, playing in 22 games before suffering a hernia in March. Craig made one more appearance for the Spireites before being released at the end of the season.
York City signed Clay on a two-year contract in May 2013. He made ten appearances for the Minstermen, but fell out of favour with new manager Russ Wilcox and as a result left the club in January 2014.
Craig then signed a short-term contract with Halifax Town, but made just four appearances before being released a month later.
Clay ended the season with Worksop Town, featuring nine times for the Northern Premier League Premier Division side.
In the summer of 2014, Clay signed an initial one-year contract with Grimsby Town following a trial with the club. Craig played 43 games for the Mariners during his first season with the club as they reached the Conference Play-Off final. The Nottingham-born midfielder featured regularly in the following campaign, playing 40 more games as Grimsby won promotion via the 2015/16 Conference Play-Off Final. However, Clay was released at the end of the season.
Last summer, Craig had a trial with South African Premier Division side Bidvest Wits, before eventually securing a contract with Motherwell. In 2016/17, Clay played 39 times for the Scottish Premiership side as they finished ninth in the division. New arrivals at Fir Park had seen Craig slip down the pecking order at Motherwell and as a result, he has been allowed to join the O’s on a free transfer, despite having a year left on his contract with the Scottish side.
Clay becomes the ninth new arrival in E10 this summer and he looks set to compete with fellow new boys Alex Lawless and Charlie Lee as well young Henry Ochieng for a place in the centre of the Orient midfield.
Following Saturday’s pre-season victory over Harlow Town, O’s Head Coach Steve Davis indicated that the club was looking to add at least four new players to the squad, therefore there looks set to more additions ahead of the new season.