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Bury will be enjoying another season in League One next season after narrowly avoiding relegation. Yet within their squad, they have a player who may well become one of League One’s top defenders next season. Greg Leigh, like so many promising youngsters, came through a top-flight academy, but was deemed surplus to requirements. Now he is rebuilding his career in the lower leagues, but the quality that first got him noticed is still evident.
Leigh was just nine when he was spotted by Manchester City scouts whilst playing for Sale United. He joined the City academy, where his progress saw him nominated for Academy Player of the Year in 2013. His performances also saw international recognition for England U’19’s. Yet despite joining City on their pre-season tour in 2014, Leigh’s first taste of professional football came on loan at Crewe. He would spend the 2014/15 season at Crewe, and was subsequently released by City after he returned.
Having impressed at Crewe, they attempted to sign him on a permanent basis, but Leigh instead had a trial at Bradford. He subsequently signed for Bradford on a one year deal, but found himself second choice at left back behind James Meredith. Leigh made just nine appearances for the Bantams and, despite an offer of another contract from Bradford, instead joined Bury. He has been almost ever present this season, missing just one league game.
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Strengths & Weaknesses
Leigh is a good defender, and although he is not the tallest, he is a threat in the opposition box. He also has bags of pace, which allows him to recover defensive positions and sometimes overlap the winger to get into attacking areas. Naturally gifted though he is, his final delivery needs to improve if he is to evolve into the top full back he could still be. He also needs to find a club where he can stay for more than one season to develop.
What They Say
Phil Parkinson – ex-Bradford City Manager
“He has real power and pace…we are confident he is a player who will improve.”